Prison Superintendent Dr. Elliston Rahming is denying a senior prison officer’s claims that a “new breed of criminals” is infiltrating Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP), but he was quick to add that gang activity is increasing at the state-run facility.
“One of the new developments is that we now have discernible gang related groupings in the prison. That is a fairly new phenomenon,” Dr. Rahming told the Bahama Journal yesterday.
The prison superintendent said prison officials are making some headway in figuring out just why gang activity is increasing.
Earlier this week Prisoner Officer Sergeant Gregory Archer said a new breed of more violent, hardened criminals are infiltrating HMP, making prison officers’ jobs more dangerous.
But, Dr. Rahming said the prison mood remains the same adding that the only thing that has changed is the numbers.
“I wouldn’t say that there is a new breed of inmates coming into the prison, but certainly the numbers are greater,” he said. “But human nature has been the same ever since Cain killed Abel; human nature has not changed.
“We have certainly more persons to deal with, but the nature of mankind has not changed.”
Sergeant Archer said recently that despite prison already being a dangerous place to live and work, over the years the jail atmosphere has gotten even worse, mimicking scenes out of movies and the hit American television show Lock Up with the fights getting even more dangerous.
Despite these incidents though, Dr. Rahming maintains that HMP is safe.
“Her Majesty’s Prisons is under control,” the prison chief added. “Officers come to work with the fair expectation that they will return home to their families; inmates can go to bed at night with the fair expectations that, unless the Lord takes them home, they will wake up in the morning and those are signs of a well-run prison.
“A prison is not an easy place to run; it is not an easy place to work in. I give full credit to officers who do a tremendous job. So far, it’s been years since an officer was seriously injured by an inmate. But, that is not to say that danger is not ever present because it is ever present.”
But due to the vigilance of staff members and a keen sense of camaraderie, Dr. Rahming said his officers are able to keep everything under control even when gang related activity rears its ugly head behind bars.
He said constant upgrades to the institution also play a key role in ensuring and maintaining law and order.
“I think it’s fair to say that officers, although they work amongst the worst of the worst, they are in a safe environment insofar as one can call a prison safe.
“We are constantly offering courses and upgrades for staff so that they are on the cutting edge of how to use defensive tactics when inmates act a certain way as opposed to acting lawless themselves,” he said.