“369 inmates on remand, Bordelais remains overcrowded” – Remand Justice Group

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“369 inmates on remand, Bordelais remains overcrowded” – Remand Justice Group
Member of the Remand Justice Group Dr. Stephen King addressing the media from the podium with Augustus Small (left) and Jerry George (right) at the head table.
Member of the Remand Justice Group Dr. Stephen King addressing the media from the podium with Augustus Small (left) and Jerry George (right) at the head table.

About 369 inmates are currently on remand at the Bordelais Correctional Institute (BCF), 358 of whom are men and 11 women.

This is the latest figure, according to a new group – Remand Justice – which is calling on government to correct this issue.

Former Acting Director and Deputy Director of BCF and Committee Member of Remand Justice, Augustus Small, said this figure is alarmin, and unless something is done now, the situation can worsen in years to come.

Small told a media conference today, July 31 that these figures represent a 58.2 per cent of the total inmate population that are on remand and 45 per cent on approximate recidivism. He said these are persons who tend to end up in jail, just after their release, for committing another crime.

Of the current inmate population of 634, the group said all are serving criminal sentences. Additionally, about 34 inmates have been on remand for five or more years.

One male inmate has been on remand since 2001 for causing death and stealing. Small noted that the average age of inmates at the BCF is somewhere between 17-25 years and approximately 70 per cent of the total inmates are young people.

The former director said the issues could only be corrected if the government sees to it that the facility serves its true purpose. That is to make the rehabilitation programme more successful. He said this could assist these men and women to reintegrate with society.

Small, who is also a director at Monroe College and lectures in the criminal justice degree programme, said it is the responsibility of all Saint Lucians, inclusive of government, to protect, secure and rehabilitate persons convicted of any criminal offense.

“It is important to all of us, they are our children, fathers, brothers, cousins and friends…it is not about throwing them in and throwing away the keys.”

He said the facility was built to accommodate 450 inmates. The government of the day, which was the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), had given its assurance that rehabilitation of inmates will ensure that the facility is not overcrowded. However, at present this is not the case.

Meanwhile, Small noted that the government allocated $10.9 million to the BCF this year, which is $1 million short of the 2013-2014 allocation. He said $7.9 million was allocated for wages and personal emoluments, while $1.2 million was allocated for food.

The average cost of maintaining a prisoner is $12.75 per inmate. “We feed these persons, we have to take care of them, you and me who are working,” he pointed out.

In quoting figures from the BCI, Small said the population growth in January moved from 588 to the last recorded figure in June, which stood at 631. Growth is higher on the remand side.

The district inmate intake for June 2014 shows that 43 inmates were admitted. Out of this number, recidivism stood at 48.83 per cent alone in that month.

“It is not about trying to get people who have committed crime out; it is about ensuring that we as a people give people other chances,” Small concluded.

Meanwhile, Committee Member of the Remand Justice Group and Consultant Pathologist, Dr. Stephen King, echoed similar sentiments, saying that the sooner government realises that the problem lies with them improving the rehabilitation programmes, then it will help to address the overcrowding and other issues that stem from criminal activities on the island.

Dr. King said the group, which includes lawyers, doctors, educators and other professionals, met with government recently to discuss several action points towards addressing issues in the justice system, by way of creating change in society for the betterment of the island.

While noting that the meetings with these officials were fruitful and the group’s concerns were taken into consideration, Dr. King said it is time for immediate action.

The action points of the group includes: looking at an immediate activation of a second criminal court, seeking to have a master for case management appointed, review existing remand population and penal population with the view of reducing the population at BCF, increase revenue to offset increased costs for additional judicial services, process delays in forensic service among others and reviewing existing coroner system.

 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. The perogarive writ Haveas Corpus ad subjiciendum ( that a body be delivered) to assess the validity of a person's detention is the best answer for that remand issue. A hearing date will be given and at such proceeding, evidence of the case will be heard and if there is no case strong enough to keep that prisoner locked up then that prisoner must be exonerated forthwith.

    Unlawful or invalid detention is a violation of a person's human rights.

    Human Rights Attorney working Pro Bono Publico...its your time to shine also.

    Kiril Pelham Didier
    1758 488 6023
    [email protected]

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  2. Thanks to the group Justice for Remand.Our sons and daughters plight will be addressed once and for all .The Lord has answered my prayers....I want to be a member of this group in order that just Justice is served in this country.Our children are human beings and do not deserve to be treated like animals sleeping on concrete floor during their time on remand due to overcrowding...while the powers that be sleep in their mansions and enjoy the finer things of life... .I really wonder how they sleep,or if they can any way having to live with their conscience especially when there is little evidence to convict but are ensuring that they get someone to punish to make their position look good ..finally some people do care ...bravo Dr.King and his peers.

    I Will continue to pray to the good Lord to guide and direct this group to ensure that justice is served for our children.let us not stand up to the national anthem until the last lines are really practiced in this country.

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  3. Some people still think that the death penalty will avert crime! That is draconian and stupid!
    A jail full of inmates on remand tells volumes of those in incompetence of the authority and they must be held accountable for that disaster. As Small rightly said, these men are fathers, brothers and husbands. deal with their matters already and let them move on with their lives. What is happening in St Lucia and Bordelais is a straight case of Human Rights violations. They are people too. If a man does wrong let him be punished, but not indefinitely. And who are the holier than thous who dare to judge others so callously? Are you infallible? Justice for those on Remand!

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    • Yes, It would avert crime, it would have someone think twice about doing something worthy of the death penalty. By your response, you're against the death penalty, which is fine. But when the person who is/was murdered is a close relative, I hope you feel the same way. Also, if they had NOT committed a crime, they wouldn't have to worry about being on remand at BCP.

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      • Being on remand does not prove guilt...I am emphasizing with both parties ,as there is pain on both the victim's and accursed family.however remanded persons are not lesser persons..he who is without sin cast the first stone...you do the crime you serve the crime.speed up the process..there are innocent people in there...the conscience of the persons who know that how do you feel..having someone paying for a crime that ,the remanded individuals didn't commit.the thirty pieces of sliver will finish one day...stop using God in your shield. He will take care of you one day...

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      • Are you really serious?

        A mere suspect can be charged and placed on remand. You believe that they are on rema d because they all commited crimes?

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  4. A reminder to Remand Justice Group. The Minister La Corbs has already told the Fire Service Association he will not tolerate them pushing him to do anything. Not on his watch.

    So all wat Dr. King pushing you mean the minister doh know that and he is a lawyer. The DPP, Andie George and a host of other long begging him to do something. To date the only person he has responded to is the American government. He was forced to

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  5. How about the inmate population stop committing crimes to end up at BCF. Also, bring back the death penalty to take care of the murderers. That should bring down some of the population numbers.
    BE A LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN.

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  6. very good initiative guys. maybe the government can now realize that dealing with the remand situation can also reduce the countries recurrent expenditure problem. IF YOU CAN NOT CONVICT THEN YOU MUST REALEASE.

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  7. Nice! I like this one step in the right direction. We need more pressure groups to make government do the work of the people.

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