Advertisement 87
Advertisement 323
Cell phones and other items seized during a search of Belle Isle Correctional Facility on April 21, 2023.
Cell phones and other items seized during a search of Belle Isle Correctional Facility on April 21, 2023.
Advertisement 219

Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Tammika Da Silva-McKenzie says the number of cell phones being confiscated in the nation’s prisons is a concern as regards the security of staff at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution.

Addressing the closing of the assizes at High Court No. 1, in Kingstown, Da Silva-McKenzie noted that acting prison chief, Assistant Superintendent of Police Dwayne Bailey has reported to the court that 213 cell phones have been confiscated from prisoners this year.

“Listening to the report, it is indeed worrying. The number of cell phones is almost one per inmate,” the prosecutor said.

As of July 31, there were 392 persons behind bars, composed of 381 males and 11 females.

“The issue is quite concerning,” Da Silva-McKenzie said.

Advertisement 271

“It makes you wonder whether it is accessibility to a phone call through the regular system of the prison is an issue or if it is that persons want to do what they want to do without supervision,” she said.

The prosecutor said that in as much as 213 cell phones were intercepted, one still has to wonder how many more are in the prisons.

“It raises security concerns for us as the office of the DPP as we toil day and night not with any particular inmate in mind but the ends of justice being met. But some persons perceive that we have it in for them in particular,” she said.

Da Silva-McKenzie said this is not the case, adding that prosecutors are just doing their jobs.

“So it raises security concerns. We hope that as the superintendent of prisons makes pleas for improvement in their area that we will see improvement in the security in the officers at the Office of the DPP as well.”

In his report, Bailey spoke of the security challenges at the prisons, which are understaffed and where warders, who work 10- to 12-hour shifts frequently take sick leave, with some taking two days off every month, as the labour laws allow.

On April 21, officers assigned to His Majesty’s Prison’s Belle Isles Correctional Facility conducted a targeted search of the facility based on intelligence.

During the search, the authorities confiscated 46 cell phones, 28 phone chargers, 23 phone batteries, 14 headphones, four ear pods, one power pack, 14 scissors, six diggers, one hacksaw blade, and a quantity of marijuana, tobacco leaves, and cigarettes. 

Diggers are implements used in fights to inflict injuries, police said in a statement.

In a statement then, Bailey said the searches were undertaken by the prison authority to safeguard the safety of inmates, employees, and visitors.

As part of its usual operational processes, the prison conducts routine searches of the facilities, Bailey said.

One reply on “Cell phones in prison a security concern for DPP’s staff, prosecutor says”

  1. Percy Palmer says:

    There should be random search reguarly so as to find and remove those articles mentioned. No bags should be allowed and visitors should be searched thoroughly.

Comments closed.