Works underway to ease Lusignan Prison overcrowding

Rehabilitation works have started at the Lusignan Prison to provide adequate spacing for inmates in light of the COVID-19 preventative measures.

This was disclosed by Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Robeson Benn, during a side-line interview at the launch of the National Road Safety Week 2020 on Monday.

“At the Lusignan Prison, we have completed the designs for three types of prison buildings. The Central Government has promised the money to be made available for work to start now, and work has already started,” Minister Benn said.

These projects will provide adequate social distancing and separation of the different types of offenders, with one of the designs expected to accommodate approximately 1,000 prisoners.

Minister Benn had visited the Lusignan Prison in August, where he was briefed on the prison population, security issues and COVID-19 challenges. 

“Prisoners of all categories of criminality are mixed up. We immediately started to do things in relation to social distancing [where] we carried 60 persons to the Mazaruni Prison,” Minister Benn reflected on that visit.

In October, 290 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19, and some prison officers were also infected.

Additionally, Minister Benn said that virtual court hearings will now be made available for persons on remand.

The virtual hearings are underway through a team effort by the judiciary, the Home Affairs Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chambers.