By Elesha George
A group of women is calling on the parents and loved ones of inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) to join in a picket on Thursday, October 3, 2019 in hopes that their presence will encourage action by the state.
Yesterday, 10 women stood outside the lone state prison, petitioning for better holding conditions and better treatment by prison officers for inmates and visitors alike. They want support for their family members and friends who have been incarcerated and are sentenced, or are on remand.
“We need support from more people so that things can happen. If they see 10 people, 12 people, they not going to do nothing. The bigger the body the better for us,” one protester proclaimed.
“You have 300 inmates and it’s unfair for 10 people to stand out here for 300 inmates. Parents come out and support your child, grandparents come out, brothers, sisters come out and support your family. Stand for you rights, it is not fair, we are Antiguans. Jamaicans come out! Guyanese come out! I know a lot of foreigners in there too; come out and support your people,” she demanded.
The women, some of whom have been in the prison system before, have complained about the food being served at the facility, the poor sleeping condition, lack of bathroom facilities and prison visitor policies that seem to be changing ever so often.
“The visitation from sentenced persons is only once a month and that’s ridiculous because you only get 15 minutes per month. The health care, it is very poor in the prison. People dying in there, people sick in there and unless you don’t actually faint to the ground, they do not give you medical attention,” said Jessica, a former remand inmate at HMP.
She said because of the overcrowding and poor ventilation, she fainted four times while in custody and to date the condition inside the remand section has not improved.
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