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Report on Prison Conditions in Jamaica


sense that when a member of the sentenced population is in a certain area he is protected by the provisions of the Correctional Institution Rules, whereas a remandee in the very same room is not.


2. Military Control


For the most part, the centre has now returned to the control of the DCS, however it was made clear by Correctional Staff and inmates during the visit that the JDF retain complete control of certain blocks of the facility, access to which was not permitted during the visit. Te reasons for keeping certain blocks under military control were unclear, as were the identities of the prisoners held there. Some detainees suggested that they had been sent to the ‘soldier block’, as they referred to it, in order for information to be gleaned from them, and made serious allegations of abuse and ill treatment at the hands of the ‘soldiers’. Tere were suggestions that the sections were used to isolate some of the most dangerous and infamous of Jamaican prisoners: those alleged to be major players in organised crime and the drug trade on the island. Whatever the motivations, it is a serious concern that a section of a civilian facility remains under military control. Human rights groups should be given permission to inspect the military sections at HARC and to determine whether inmates therein are being held in accordance with domestic and international human rights law.


3. General Conditions Cells


Te cells at HARC were built to house six inmates each, with three concrete bunks adjoined to each side wall of a cell, one on top of another. Te cells are dark, dirty, overcrowded, and incredibly hot. Tis is how the majority of the remandees at HARC are held, with a lucky few having the good fortune to be placed in a cell with less inhabitants.


Inmates are supposed to be provided with a thin sponge mattress and blankets on their entry to the institution. However, many detainees slept on cardboard laid on their concrete bunk, or simply on the concrete itself. I was informed that, due to a lack of resources, it was often not possible to provide inmates with any bedding at all.


Each cell measures 3.9 metres by 2.88 metres, meaning that standard practice is to allocate each inmate a mere 1.9 metres2


each in cell floor space. In fact, there is considerably less space than even this tiny amount, as the bunks on either side wall intrude into 46


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