Acting Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, in a recent interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), called on Prison Officers to recognise the dangers at which they place themselves, society and inmates by engaging in the trade of contraband within the walls of the penitentiary.
“I trust that prison officers who are involved in such activities recognise the danger they pose to themselves and their colleagues and the dangers that prisoners are exposed,” the Acting Director stressed.
Samuels cited the following example: “Should a prisoner without a cell phone wish to call his family and his fellow inmate who is using a cell phone refuses to allow to make a call, this can result in an unnecessary altercation to gain possession of the phone.”
According to the Acting Director, there have been instances when inmates have made calls to relatives of other prisoners demanding that they credit phones. “There have been some reports of persons being assaulted as a result of their family not being able to put in the credit that is required. So, a number of spill offs can occur from the illegal activities of both prison officers and prisoners,” Samuels said.
While admitting that the lure of “quick cash” is real, Samuels said that despite the incentives of such illegal trades seeming lucrative, prison officers must exhibit strength of character so that they may avoid the pitfalls of dirty money.
“We would have seen in 2017, and even before, a number of prison officers being prosecuted for their involvement for smuggling contraband into the prison we would have also seen a number of prisoners prosecuted,” … because the sale of contraband is deemed to be a very lucrative business in the prison, persons will continue to take chances in terms of getting these items.”
Samuels also said the Prison service is ensuring new recruits are properly vetted and monitored because once the officer is not mentally strong, they can be easily persuaded by prisoners “to do wrong things” in terms of being involved in the trafficking of contraband.