Scores of new beds set to ease prison overcrowding

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The new facilities will be officially handed over on February 1 (Photos contributed)
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Long-awaited better housing facilities for prison inmates are a step closer with the completion of the first phase of major upgrades.

The new development in the country’s lone correctional facility saw the addition of 170 new beds.

The remand area renovation entailed the erection of 36 containers, which hold a total of 144 beds. The facilities also have new showers and toilet facilities.

In addition to the holding cells, contractors assembled five containers which will house a new kitchen, storage area and offices. A customised interior drainage system, which includes new plumbing for exterior drainage, was installed.

The kitchen was extended to join the pre-existing one, with a new baking area, freezers, microwave and AC units.

The first phase also saw the erection of new office space, along with a new perimeter security fence with barbed and razor wire. There is also a new sewage tank with increased water storage capacity.

The new facilities will be officially handed over by Works Minister Lennox Weston on February 1.

The poor state of the national prison has earned strong condemnation from international bodies over the years. Harsh conditions and extreme overcrowding were among a long list of criticisms levelled against the prison in a 2016 UN report. And a 2014 US State Department report decried the use of slop pails instead of toilets and poor ventilation, among other things.

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