Gov’t looking to address overcrowding problem at BCF

By SNO Staff

prison

Government plans to give serious consideration to a number of ideas and suggestions made by groups and individuals, towards helping to address the high prison population on island.

One of the main ideas being considered is the use of tracking devices for suspected criminals.

National Security Minister, Victor La Corbiniere, said the topic is back on the table and will be looked at from the point of view that it will allow individuals some freedom, pending the hearing of matters.

The minister said there are a number of issues which lends to the current crisis, one in particular is the rehabilitation of the courts, which has significantly disrupted the flow of hearings for some time.

La Corbiniere revealed that in addition to repairing the poor infrastructure at the courts, the government might have to consider hiring an additional judge to clear the backlog of cases.

But the minister said this is just one of many ideas that the government is looking at to help lower the remand population and deal with cases more speedily.

The Bordelais Correctional Facility, which was built some 14 years ago, was designed to accommodate only 450 inmates, but has since exceeded this mark every year and the number keeps growing daily.

Recent information states that 258 inmates are serving out sentences, while 349 are still awaiting trial.

(0)(3)
Copyright 2017 St. Lucia News Online. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

9 comments

  1. This prison and it's administration need an overhaul as it is bursting at the seams.It was built to replace the crumbling, dilapidated, decrepit and antiquated old fortress in the centre of Castries which until recently passed off as a penitentiary. This old slammer was overcrowded congested and chock-full. The inmates were packed in there like sardines with very little to do. The atmosphere was fantastically ugly and grotesque according to the many commentators who took the liberty to comment on the conditions inside the infamous clink which use to housed the island's yard birds.
    A prison is a place for the confinement and punishment of persons convicted of serious crimes - usually felonies. Bordelais Correctional facility was built with all the trappings that came with a modern prison. The facilities and amenities in there are up-to-date and newfangled. It can hold several hundred inmates at any given time. St. Lucia needed this maximum prison to allay the fears of the general public who needed assurance and security. They needed to know that those who perpetrated crimes against their fellow citizens would be punished and if the punishment meant confinement then so be it. This facility was well overdue. The previous regime of the 70's did not want to build a gaol to meet the demands of the current era.
    There are many prisoners on remand who have not had their day in court to ascertain whether they are guilty or not. In the meantime, these people are languishing at Bordelais awaiting justice. The system is clogged up as a significant number of remand prisoners have been in there for many years waiting for a judge to decide their fate. This cannot be right in any democracy.You cannot keep people banged up for so long without trying them for the crimes they are accused of committing. This is contrary to conscience morality and law. These folks have rights like everybody else. Their human rights are being violated when you keep them locked up without a proper trial. We live in a democracy and should expect better from the state. If the evidence is there then it should be presented before a court where a judge and jury will decide guilt or innocence. The Criminal Justice System and the powers that be have absolutely no right in keeping someone in prison who have not been convicted by a court. It is contrary to the principles of justice and law.
    The justice system in St Lucia and the Caribbean is slow and exhaustive. The police do not employ a professional attitude in most instances. The defense lawyers do their utmost to delay cases by calling for adjournment after adjournment much to the annoyance of the other parties involved. The prosecution will go along with the postponement of cases even when enough time have been afforded to all concerned. This should not be allowed to happen. Unless someone is seriously ill or confined to a sick bed there should be no reason to delay any criminal trials. The judge needs to stand firm and to issue penalties for noncompliance if needs be to both sides. No one is above the law. The judges and magistrates in St Lucia need to stamp their authority. Let both parties know that detainment will not cut it. The case will proceed in the interest of justice. The message should be loud and clear.
    The idea of bringing in other measures as an alternative to imprisonment is not a bad one. Not every crime should carry a jail sentence. There are mitigating factors and circumstances and this should be taken into consideration when sentencing. Tagging people who have been convicted of less serious crimes and putting them on curfews should be explored. Felonies such as murder, rape, assault, arson, manslaughter, and unlawful carnal knowledge should result in long-term imprisonment for the offender. The offences against the persons act should be enforced at all times with mandatory sentences.
    Most prisons in Europe and America have programs in place to help rehabilitate the inmates. The inmates in these slammers are paying their debt to society. They have done wrong and are being punished and deservedly so. Bordelais is referred to as a correctional facility and it should be doing just that - correcting it's inmates so they will not make mistakes again. Quite a number of prisoners keep doing the same things over and over again and having to end up behind bars time and time again. Some say prison is a place where criminals learn to commit crimes and hence the reason why so many end up being banged up again after having just recently been released. Maybe rehabilitation has not worked for these poor souls. There should be other ingenious ways to keep people away from prison.
    The Justice ministry should look at other ways to solve the overpopulation. How about having some offenders serving their time on weekends instead of weekdays like they do in Scandanavia.Those convicted of drug offences could be sent to rehab in specially designated houses around the country. Then again the solution could be to build another prison to help alleviate congestion at Bordelais. The more the merrier as they say.With all the Taiwanese and EU funds that are flowing around the place, perhaps some of it could be put to good use by building another jail somewhere on the hills of Canaries or Anse La Raye. Last I checked they were plenty of barren land in that area of the country which could be used for that purpose.
    The Crown Prosecution Service should be trying cases more frequently. They need to go through the backlog.If it means employing more lawyers to help try the cases in court then they should do so. They should stop making excuses and get on with the task of bringing offenders to justice. They are charged with conducting criminal prosecutions in the country and should do so. Their main responsibilities are to provide advice to the police and other investigative agencies to decide whether suspects should face criminal charges following an investigation and to conduct prosecutions in the courts in St. Lucia. There is much cause for concern as they are doing very little to help settle the situation which is getting out of hand. There can be no excuses for not trying the cases.
    It took them 10 years to finally set free the father of Verlinda from Saltibus, after a vociferous argument by the brilliant barrister Martinus Francois, who was acting on the defendant's behalf. They kept the poor bloke in there for so long and would have kept him there much longer had Martinus not stepped in. Who in their right mind does something like this? If they had the evidence against the man then they should have presented it and let a judge and jury decide whether he should do the time. It's no wonder there are so many people in Bordelais who have not had their day in court. The Indolent CPS is doing precious little to address the situation.What do the people in the CPS get paid for? There is another case involving a singer whose trial collapsed and after being inside for 7 years, he still have not been told when he will be tried again.There are so many others too numerous to mention.
    The State(CJS) should give every consideration in keeping the prison population down. They should implore judges to send violent offenders to prison once they have been convicted and to keep those less violent away from Her Majesty's Pleasure by giving them other appropriate sentences other than prison. They could be put on probation, given community service or tagged. Let us keep our beautiful country safe.
    Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
    Malcolm L'Overture
    Haitian- Lucian
    Berlin Germany

    (0)(0)
  2. Here's a suggestion for petty crimes such as theft...or domestic violence...or small assault cases...take them out of remand...community service...the country needs to remain clean...or be cleaned...Castries needs a face lift...small repairs here and there goes a long way...in terms of the image of our country....look at how much was put into this independence....offer those doing the country the service a small salary....

    (3)(0)
  3. The truth of the matter is that whiles you might be able to find ways to marginally reduce the population at Bordelais which in effect would be pleasing to criminals and less appealing to law abiding citizens, the extent to which our country is plagued by criminal offences is so grave that government might as well declare a "crime holiday" promising criminals that they won't be prosecuted when they commit crimes (I'm being sarcastic!!).
    What we really need is a new prison. Probably something between "Juvenile Detention" and "Maximum Security" for less serious offences by less "harmful offenders". Do the Math, St.Lucia has a population of approximately 200,000 people and most of them young, with an exceedingly high number of youthful offenders coming before the justice system. We have one prison only that can house 450!! If we cannot stop those robberies then we might as well put a revolving door at the entrance to Bordelais if we try to stop the overcrowding.

    Overcrowding is not the problem but a "side effect" of the solution; its crime that's the problem.
    If you leave a tap running at your home and you come home to find the whole place flooded and you start mopping up the water and throwing it out and you stupidly ignore the fact that the tap is still running then you will never stop throwing water out.
    You have to CLOSE THE TAP!!!!

    (2)(0)
  4. This isn't rocket science! "Papa" said it as well, DECRIMINALISE cannibis. What a waste of tax payers (and theren't many) money to process people for grass.

    Instead LaCorb use this as the first, which in effect wouldn't cost or cost much, he's thinking of adding cost (by purchasing tracking tags).

    Where have all the brains in Stlucia gone!

    FREE the ras clat herb man.

    (4)(1)
  5. You mean we can actually hire now judges ? So why it took a suggestion for LaCorbs to consider that idea ? Here is my suggestion, dump some.... and there is enough money to hire two new judges.

    (2)(0)
  6. La Cobriniere is a sorry excuse for anything to do with Justice and security.

    G.KJ

    (3)(0)
  7. That guy is a big bust. Anticipated overcrowding was always on the horizon. This is no time for Bodoos! What a poor manager! I wonder if that guy ever set a prior list? If he did, apparently, not much was achieved.

    (2)(0)
  8. Lacob, the biggest excuse is you. An Idiot who doesn't know what he is doing. This would be the best excuse for Kenny.

    (11)(1)
  9. you could decriminalize marijuana and make room for the real criminals!

    (16)(0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.