HMP INMATES’ BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIGNITY COME FIRST, SAYS COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTIONS

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 23, 2020 (SKNIS): Inmates of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) who are convicted by a court of law automatically lose some liberties as prescribed by the Prison Act. However, Commissioner of Corrections, Terrance James, said that the inmates do not lose their human dignity.

Loss of liberty includes restrictions on individual freedoms for various tasks such as when to take a shower, have a meal, participate in exercise, move around, attend an event and more.

Commissioner James explained that he often reminds his staff that the inmates are “human beings still and they must be treated like human beings.”

His message to the prison staff is clear. “If an inmate is not feeling well and he needs to see the doctor, you need to take him to the doctor. [If] he needs to see the dentist, you need to take him to the dentist.”

The men and women residing in the prison retain basic human rights such as protection against slavery or servitude as well as torture and cruel inhuman or degrading punishment. The inmates are clothed, fed, and enjoy added privileges during special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, and Independence Day.

“Our primary objective as members of staff is the care and custody of the inmates,” Commissioner James stated. “… We have to ensure that nothing happens to an inmate while he/she is inside there, or we can be held responsible … [and may] end up over in the prison.”

The residents are encouraged to undertake academic and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) that are offered at HMP to help improve their chances of finding a job or providing for themselves and their family after serving their sentence. They also are exposed to rehabilitative procedures and techniques to help curb recidivism.

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