Increase in prison population driving up costs

GINA, June 30, 2016

The National Assembly this afternoon approved $13.6 Million that was spent by the Ministry of Public Security in 2015 to provide meals for inmates in the country’s prisons.

Questioned on the expenditure for dietary supplies, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, said there was an increase of around 116 inmates across Guyana.

The Minister also pointed out that there was an increase in the prices for food supplies and the special dietary requirements for inmates with chronic diseases and those who are HIV positive.

Asked about the delay in moving from the use of wood burning stoves in the prisons by opposition Member of Parliament, Clement Rohee, Minister Ramjattan indicated that proposals for gas burning stoves are being considered and cited the lack of space for the “running of gas lines” as just one of the challenges that needs to be overcome.

According to the Minister, there has also been price increases for diary, vegetable and meat products due to the prolonged dry season. It was revealed to the House that moves are being made to equip and restart prisons farms at locations across Guyana but, Minister Ramjattan pointed out that the “prison system will never be totally self-sufficient”.

The Minister also informed the House that the prison population has increased “from 1994 inmates as at January 01, 2015 to 2113 inmates as at December 20, 2016”. The original amount approved during the passage of the 2015 Nation Budget amounted t0 $90 Million dollars.