Superintendent of Prisons, Lieutenant Colonel John Nurse. (FP)

Superintendent of Prisons, Lieutenant Colonel John Nurse, has reported that there is satisfaction among the general prison population at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds, with efforts by prison authorities to maintain their mental health during and after their battle with the coronavirus.

He shared during a press briefing today on Zoom that the inmates were generally satisfied and knew of the ongoing work by his team to make sure that they remain safe. 

He said they were also kept abreast of the steps when a prisoner contracted the virus and how they would be “nursed” back to health as quickly as possible.  

“We have on staff, counsellors, psychologists and we also have the services of that type of expertise from the BDF, prior to they standing down their assistance. With the virtual visits and with the inmate telephone system, a lot of pressure also would have been taken off the minds of the prisoners. So, generally speaking, [the measures were] very well received by the prisoners and they cooperated quite well in this effort to get everything back to normal,” Lieutenant Colonel Nurse underlined. 

The prison boss also sought to clarify the procedures used when dealing with newly remanded prisoners to insulate the institution from infection, especially from COVID-19.

Lieutenant Colonel Nurse said remand prisoners go through a two-week quarantine period and explained that before the pandemic, remandees, whether sentenced or on remand, went through an “induction” before they were integrated into the general population.

He added: “You go through a period where you are sensitised to life in prison, you get an opportunity to check all aspects of your health; you go through our assessments of you as a person and of you as an individual.  So, that continues, there is no change to that.”

The Prison Superintendent continued: “The difference here though, within the COVID-19 circumstance is that we will go through a process where we will look to see if you exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, and if you do, then we follow the established protocols and the national protocols to deal with persons who are suspected, or who in fact come down with COVID-19. So, long before you are able to be transferred into the prison population proper, there is a process established to make sure that you are fit to move into the general population.”

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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