Camp Street Prison inmate Michael Lewis could not hold back his feelings as he recounted his near death experience during the unrest, which left 17 other inmates dead in a fire in the Capital ‘A’ division of the Prison.
“I was just hoping that the warden come and open the door…so I could get out” he tearfully said.
The 39-year-old man, who is facing a murder charge since April 2014 stated that on the day in question almost two hours’ inmates were shouting for help after tear gas was thrown into the Capital A section.
“No officer came to our rescue” Lewis recounted. He also described that inmates would usually be treated by Prison Officers “like beast” while he was being cross examined based on his statement provided to the Commission.
Lewis told the Commissioners that he found it strange that on the morning of the incident his division did not received their usual meals and during the unrest Officers were video recording the ordeal.
He also disclosed “for that whole week (leading up to March 3) the prison officers were practicing for fire drill” and when there was an actual fire on that fatal day “no officer did such.”
The inmate described the quality of food they are served in the detention facility.
“Since this inquiry yah does see meat in the food sir…” and before Prisoners were fed “porridge and sometimes bare tea (bare tea is tea without tea bag water with sugar Sir) …and tea bag tea” with an occasional serving of bread on some Wednesdays.
He also added that “for lunch, most times we would get cook up…with just chunks with peas.”
The inmate, who is the fourth to appear before the Commission also shared similar concerns to that of those who testified since the COI started last week.
Commissioners visit Camp Street Prison
As the Commissioners of the inquiry into the Camp Street Prison unrest attempt to discover what led to seventeen inmates losing their lives, the team along with the Commission Counsel and Attorneys visited the city jail house.
Current inmates shouted to the visiting team,who they felt was responsible for the incident, as the team headed to the Capital ‘A’ division for a firsthand of the aftermath and cell block dimension.
Lewis was given an opportunity to demonstrate, before the Commissioners where he was during the fire and all other events leading up to the fire.
News Room along with other media outlets were given a chance to visit the Prison but were not allowed to record or take pictures.
Charred remains of personal items, metal double- bunk bed frames, burnt mattresses and a black ceiling could still be seen in the room which housed over 60 inmates.
In the Capital ‘A’ and ‘B’ divisions, inmates were made to share three toilets and one shower with two taps, along with one wash sink. According to Lewis “once the bottom shower pipe on no water goes to the sink.”
It is likely that Lewis will return to the Commission of Inquiry to give further evidence, since his statement was incomplete which he claims is no fault of his, since he cannot read or write “properly.”