Categorized | National News

Turnquest Wants Programmes For Remand Inmates

Former National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest is calling on the government to put more programmes in place for inmates on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) to help them occupy their time and teach them new skills as they await trial.

Mr. Turnquest was responding to a Bahama Journal exclusive published last week where top prison officials admitted that gang violence has increased behind bars.

“It’s really a no brainer,” he said. “If your society is more violent, the inmate population at the prison has to be more violent. So yes it is.”

He added that in the discussion about a new breed of criminals at HMP, the makeup of the prison has to be taken into consideration as well as the calibre of people housed there.

Mr. Turnquest said the same Bahamians who commit those heinous crimes on the streets are the same Bahamians who are arrested and put in jail.

“The inmates at the prison are persons who come from society,” Mr. Turnquest added. “If you have a violent society and persons are there who are remanded and then you have those who are convicted, you have two classes of people mixing.”

“You have the remanded ones, who are innocent until proven guilty and then the sentenced inmates.”

Prison Superintendent Dr. Elliston Rahming and prison officer Sergeant Gregory Archer recently highlighted the growing trend of increased gang violence taking place behind bars at HMP.

But Mr. Archer, who actually mans the prison cells, ventured a bit further and noted that the criminals entering jail are more hardened.

Mr. Turnquest said it is time for the government to make provisions for remanded inmates to engage in prison programmes.

“Find a way at which remanded inmates can benefit from many of the programmes at the prison,” he suggested. “It may have to be done in a voluntary way in the first instance, because they are still innocent until proven guilty, they are just remanded to the state.

“There are people who are in jail for a long time on remand until their case is determined and we have to find a way for them to take advantage of the programmes in the prison while they wait.”

He also admitted that it would take more funding for the prison to get this done adding that during his five years in office the Ingraham administration faced the same challenges.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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