Press Clippings

Soldiers to secure prisons

Jamaica Defence Force soldiers are to take over full responsibility for security at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre (formerly General Penitentiary), the St. Catherine District Prison and The South Camp Rehabilitation Centre, National Security Minister K D Knight confirmed yesterday.

The Minister said 170 recruits were now in training and "within another week or so, an additional 130 are to begin training".    "As soon as their training is completed they will assume full responsibility for security in the three prisons," he told The Gleaner.

He noted that there were three aspects to the management of the island's prisons - rehabilitation, normal care of the prisoners and security at the institutions.   "Warders will have responsibility for rehabilitation and normal care while the military through the Third Battalion (National Reserves) will take on the security aspect," Mr. Knight said.

He stressed that the recruits would be given specialised training to fit them into the programme of the Correctional Services Department.   The Minister said that this approach had been discussed with the unions representing correctional officers from as far back as January and that no objections had been raised.

Asked whether the programme might result in the displacement of some of the current warders he said: "Whatever the result of the disciplinary actions being contemplated, these people (the new recruits) will be in the system".

Unions representing the prison warders could not be reached for comment.