Tuesday, June 29, 2004

TT: Prison guards should be behind bars too

Yet another problem at the country’s troubled prisons was highlighted in the Sunday Guardian, when a former inmate spoke about collusion between prisoners and their guards.

For a fee, he said, guards will bring in cell phones, drugs, and even sheets and ropes for prisoners who want to escape.

If this story is true, then not only are prisoners not being rehabilitated, but on the contrary, the authorities are actually assisting them in criminal acts inside the prison, and, by bringing in cell phones, even helping them to continue their criminal activities outside the prison walls by the most modern and high-tech methods. For the ex-inmate said that by this means they are able to carry on gang warfare and organised crime, including issuing death threats to or even arranging the murders of state witnesses.

President of the Prisons Officers Association Claudius Gulston was honest enough to say that he could not deny that some of his colleagues might be involved in drug trafficking and trading in cell phones in the prisons.

If this is the case, no doubt the demoralised state of prison officers, who have to work in the same appalling conditions under which prisoners are kept, may have something to do with it.

Prisons officers are now expressing their grievances by a form of work-to-rule which has affected the courts, where prisoners have been arriving hours late.

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