Proactive measures taken to keep COVID-19 out prisons

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Guyana Prison Service is taking proactive measures to ensure the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is kept out of the country’s prisons.

Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels confirmed that precautionary measures are being implemented at all the prisons countrywide.

The Prisons Director said wash stations have been established at all locations. It was also highlighted that the frequency with which the prison facilities are cleaned has been significantly increased after the necessary items required were procured.

Samuels also noted that as a result of the courts take the measure to only hear priority cases, there has been less movement of inmates. He highlighted however that systems are in place for new inmates entering the prisons.

“The court has reduced the hearing of matters so traffic in terms of persons attending court has reduced significantly but at the two admission prisons – that is Lusignan and New Amsterdam – we have identified an area for those persons who may be coming from the courts so that they can spend the recommended period of 14 days there and once they are cleared then they will go into the general population,” he explained.

Samuels further said that hand sanitizers are in place for staff, inmates and visitors to use. There has also been a reduction in the frequency of visits to the prisons.

“Remanded prisoners who were allowed two visits per week are now receiving one visit every two weeks, convicted persons are still receiving one visit per month but the time have been reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes,” Samuels stated.

Systems are in place to ensure staff sanitise before they enter the prison and while on duty.

Additionally, Samuels pointed out the Guyana Prison Service have collaborated with the Ministry of Public Health to host sensitisation sessions for senior staff, welfare officers and medical staff. These persons are tasked with disseminating the information garnered to other staff and inmates.