Probe launched into ‘prison party’

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The Guyana Prison Service is investigating the circumstances under which several inmates of the New Amsterdam Prison were able to acquire alcohol, drugs and cellphones inside the penitentiary.

The photos of the prisoners were shared on Sunday, on the Facebook page of 34-year-old Abdul Andre Azimullah, who is on remand for murder. The photos indicate what appears to be a ‘party’ inside the prison,

Security at the prisons across the country has always been a challenge for authorities who battle on a daily basis with corrupt prison officers.

Earlier this month, three prison officers were taken into police custody after a parcel with prohibited items were thrown over the fence of the holding bay at the Lusignan, East Coast Demerara prison.

Prison Director (ag), Gladwin Samuels had said recently that the fight against trafficking of contraband must be collective.

“We will continue to work to correct the very sad situation that has contributed to damaging the image of the organization,” Samuels had said.

Samuels had noted that in the past few weeks, despite regular searches, authorities continue to unearth various forms of contraband including cellular phones, marijuana and local wine which have made their way into the prisons.

“This should be cause for concern for each and every one of us as it brings into question our commitment to the service, the security of the prison, and by extension the security of the nation. Make no mistake about it, our security is at risk when we allow these items in.

“Taking into account the quantity of these prohibited items and the locations where some of the items are discovered it stretches the imagination that these items got into the prison only being trafficked by prisoners using their bodies to conceal same,” the Prison Director had noted.

He had further noted that the trade of contraband, while it may seem profitable initially, is bad for the prison environment.

“It creates conflict, it breeds jealousy and distrust, it causes power struggles, and it can result in fights which can cause serious injuries and even loss of lives of prisoners and Officers.”

He believes that while many Prison Officers are not directly involved in trafficking of contraband, they are aware of others who are.

“However, when you know your fellow officers are breaking the law and you remain silent, you are as guilty as they are. The dangers their acts bring to the Prison environment also expose you to additional risk. But Prison Officers should not be putting their fellow Officers at risk.”

Samuels had said that as Director of Prisons (ag), he will work assiduously with all who are willing to bring about positive change in the environment.

“I promise you that I will not give up. This Organization will continue to do what we are lawfully required to do for the people under our charge.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story initially stated that the photos were taken at the Camp Street Prison. News Room apologises for the error. 

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