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Some Inmates imprisoned at Fox Hill in New Providence feel that their basic humanity is taken away from them in the environment in which they are kept. This was revealed in a study released by The University of the Bahamas (UB) yesterday.

The release of the findings of a 2016 Study of Sentenced Inmates at the Department of Correctional Services came during a Symposium at the University’s Performing Arts Centre.


Lead researcher William Fielding said the study investigated some 350 plus inmates both male and female during a period last year.


“An extensive survey form allowed us to investigate a number of issues such as prison health, the economy of the prison, the use of drugs in the prison and we’ve been able to pull out the role of gangs in the lives of prisoners,” he said.


“So we had a list and drew a random sample from that list. We didn’t show favouritism, but we had to have a backup list as some of the people may have been released before we interviewed them and on the advice of correctional officers, there may have been certain people unsafe to interview.”


The study was pushed by Inter Development Bank (IDB) in order to establish its citizen and security project in various Caribbean islands.


Part of that project was to obtain sentenced prisoners perceptions on many aspects while incarcerated.


Mr. Fielding pointed out that the findings of the study were in no way 100 per cent accurate as the information was retrieved from inmates’ perceptions.


With that said however, the perceptions of inmates and their accounts of what takes place still raised many important questions, especially as it relates to the deep structural failures.


“Although we’re getting prisoners perceptions, we have to remember that perception is reality for that person. So for example, the quotation about a prisoner saying he felt that his dignity was being taken away is a very profound statement,” he said.


“You many not think of it in terms of that, but if you feel your basic humanity is being taken away from you in the environment in which you are kept, that clearly can’t be a good thing to be happening for someone who you want to be rehabilitated and to become a positive member of society when released.”


Some of the statistics gathered, which have not been officially released as yet revealed that inmates joined gangs for sense of family as well as protection on the inside and outside of prison.


Many inmates felt strongly that once released, they would return to prison or be arrested again.


Further, when it came to drug use, drugs were used to help inmates cope with living conditions.


However, most startling for one student of all was the allegation or consensus from the inmates that prison officers were the ones responsible for providing inmates with access to drugs and other contraband.


“You have people who are guarding the prison and persons who are supposed to ensure the rules and regulations are kept (commiting offences,) Shantique Durham said.


“Yet they are the ones entertaining it or giving them the drugs. I found that very alarming and interring at the same time.”



Written by Jones Bahamas

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