JIS News

Several recommendations for the improvement of security at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in Kingston have emerged in a Report, following investigations by the Board of Inquiry into the attempted prison break at the facility last March.
Giving details of the recommendations in the House of Representatives on June 15, National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips said these include: reclassification of all inmates allowed to work in the gate lodge of the facility, with a view to exempting all those on firearm charges; a more detailed and rigorous system of recording all visits to the institution; and a thorough monitoring of all vehicles entering and leaving the institution.
Recommendations have also been made for the installation of surveillance cameras to cover the gate lodge as well as the main and pedestrian walk-through gates, and handheld and base-station radios are to be issued to the Correctional Officers assigned to key positions at the facility. Also proposed are the fast tracking of the existing weapons training and re-classification programme for all Correctional Officers assigned armed duties; compliance certificates to be issued, and a schedule of officers certified to use weapons is to be posted at each institution.
Dr. Phillips said the recommendations have been assessed and implementation has already started in some instances, with the remainder to be implemented in the “very near future”.
It was reported that on March 31 armed inmates at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre attacked the gate lodge in what “appeared to be a planned escape attempt”. Officers in the lodge responded. In the aftermath, three correctional officers were injured, one of whom succumbed to his injuries. A probation officer was also shot. A total of 24 inmates were injured, two of whom died. Dr. Phillips said the investigation had not been able to identify any specific person as being responsible for either the deaths or the injuries to staff, visitors or inmates.
He said, however, that based on the qualified findings by the Board of Enquiry, the Department of Correctional Services has considered it prudent to request the Commissioner of Police to have a more detailed investigation conducted to determine whether any persons should be charged with a criminal offence.
Dr. Phillips said the findings had also been referred to the Office of the Services Commission for their attorneys to assess and determine whether it would be appropriate for disciplinary procedures to commence in respect of correctional officers who might have breached standard operating procedures.
The Minister said he was advised that the Jamaica Constabulary Force was conducting further ballistic tests on weapons in the arms store, which might have been used to repel the escape and restore order at the institution.

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