Pardons for prisoners on gov’t agenda

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The likelihood of reprieves for some prisoners is back on the agenda of the new Gaston Browne administration.
Prior to heading into the March 21 general election, the ABLP government had indicated that it was a consideration as part of efforts on the social welfare front.
Information minister, Melford Nicholas, told reporters on Thursday that the matter aroae at their first Cabinet meeting the previous day. 
“We had to look at a number of the social challenges we’ve had as well, the over-population of the prison, and some of the less than desirable conditions in the prison. I certainly remember pointing the question at the AG on whether or not we need to look at building a new facitility.”
The minister said there was no timeline on the issue as yet but it was one that will engage the Cabinet in the weeks ahead.
Last week the attorney general, Steadroy Benjamin said the prison authority will identify inmates suitable for release. He said those who would benefit from the pardon would be individuals convicted for minor offences and who would have gone through rehabilitation in the penal institution.
Additionally, he said the government plans to build a new prison during this five-year term in office.
Up to Tuesday of this week, the prison had 318 inmates, even though the facility was built to accommodate 150.

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