Tensions, already on edge, are set to flare to disastrous proportions at this country’s newest and largest correctional institution situated at Belle Isle.
Well placed sources within the cadre of officers charged with the security of inmates at the facility opted to reach out to ANN in hopes that seemingly callous authorities would intervene now before worsening conditions deteriorate further.
The latest contributing factor comes by way of what some prison officers describe as the ‘political’ appointment of the Assistant Superintendent of Prisons J. Clark whose meteoric rise landed him in that job after some 14 years.
ASP Clarke’s position gives him direct control of the daily operations at Belle Isle and amongst his first directives is the restriction of prisoner recreational time.
Officers at the facility are adamant that there have been no breach of prisoner conduct to justify this new move which now allows only forty-five minutes of “hall time.” And they are afraid that, combined with the other atrocities that infringe upon the human dignities of their charges, this might just be the proverbial straw of camel back breaking fame.
“There are certain rules that he’s [ASP Clarke] putting in now – well he has the power to make certain rules but it should be rules that both inmates and officers be comfortable with,” one source said.
With nine (9) men per cell, it is little wonder that cell doors are generally opened from 9-4 as part of the good behavior rewards scheme.
Given that no formal recreational activities are provided for the prisoners as well as few other “privileges” the unnamed source explained, taking away that informal reward is akin to setting a short fuse alight.
Especially when certain basic decencies are being curtailed – “you giving inmates one blue soap for a month, nine guys in a cell one toilet paper for two days because you want to generate money for the female prison and is goat and sheep living at the female prisons.”
Pointing to the severely limited diet of the incarcerated men under their care the source further lamented “you can’t expect to be giving inmates every single day rice and chicken?”
A claim to which Chief of Prisons Roderiques responded when asked “I would admit that we can do a whole better with the food. It’s better than it used to be.”
Though he, Rodriquez, did not confirm or deny reports that meals at the prison are prepared on firewood salvaged from the nearby garbage dump since it id alleged that no stove is operational at the prison.
The source sought to remind his superiors that prison officers at Belle Isle tend to work 14 hour days without fail. A feat that should be rewarded with better care for prison officers’ welfare if not a meager stipend.
Then there is the spectre of theives who are working with the prison farm from which most of the approximately 800lbs of cow meat and two pigs are unaccounted.
“All of these are secrets holding down here in the prison…”
Efforts to reach ASP Clarke was unsuccessful