Prison officers being trained to deal with mentally unstable inmates

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As part of a training exercise being conducted for prison and other law enforcement officials; they will be taught how to deal with vulnerable groups, especially the dozens of mentally unstable inmates that make up the total prison population in Guyana.

A section of the gathering at the opening of the workshop

During his remarks at the opening of a five-day workshop today, Prisons Director, Gladwin Samuels related that on a daily basis, prisons across Guyana account for about 75 persons who are known to be mentally unstable. He said that these individuals  have now been dispersed following the 2017 fire at the Camp Street penitentiary.

“The role of the prison officers is very important in terms of ensuring that these persons who are deemed vulnerable are not taken advantage of. Today, I see this training as a step in the right direction, in order for us to be better equipped to identify those persons with special needs,” he said.

Samuels also told the gathering that these inmates received daily, and in some cases fortnightly care when they were housed at Camp Street Prison from the Georgetown Public Hospital.

The training, which is being held in collaboration with the British High Commission, was also  addressed by the Acting High Commissioner, Ron Rimmer who noted that “this training is the latest in a series of tangible outputs that the UK had undertaken or will be undertaking in the near future.”

An inquiry into the March 2-4, 2016 Camp Street Prison Riot recommended that several interventions be taken to correct the deficiencies at the courts, the police and prison system.

Vulnerable groups within the prison system also include Indigenous people, substance abusers, HIV positive persons, old persons and children.

The training is being facilitated by two experts in the areas of mental health.

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