Prisoners housed at the Lusignan Prison can expect better accommodation in the new year when work on three additional holding facilities inside the prison compound is completed.
The new facilities are being constructed at a cost of over $1 billion.
The media was taken on a tour of the facility at the prison this morning. The Lusignan jail is overcrowded with remand and convicted prisoners.
When the Camp Street jail went up in flames a few years ago, most of its prisoners were moved to Lusignan and have been housed under sheds in the compound.
The Acting Director of the Guyana Prison Service, Nicklon Elliot said the new buildings that are being constructed should be completed by February in the new year.
“These three facilities are being constructed to accommodate over 1000 prisoners. Prisoners will be housed in a very comfortable way because we all know of the situation and the holding bay and the Lusignan facility after the burning of those facilities in Georgetown and Lusignan and this facility will be able to accommodate prisoners in a very comfortable way. This facilty is expected to be completed with the next 3-4 months and the cost for construction is $1.2 billion”, Mr. Elliot.
The Prison Director said the facilities being built will have systems in place to address any fire emergency and other facilities of modern prisons.
Additionally, Mr. Elliott said that those spending time at the prison will be able to access learning facilities within the prison.
“A school is expected to be built, where prisoners will be exposed to further education in terms of all the training activities that they would have missed out while in prison. And, we will be converting the holding bay facility into a trade shop where prisoners will be further exposed to various training programmes.”
With the additional facilities being added, the Prison Director admitted that it is possible for the overcrowding situation to still exist.
“The prison is the last of the criminal justice system and of course it is based on police work they are doing in terms crime prevention and detection of crime and once those matters are being placed before the Court, of course the Magistrate will make a determination if they come to the prison. Once that decision is made, we don’t have any other alternative than to accept those persons while they are here” Elliot further noted.
In the past years, prisoners at the Lusignan jail have protested and complained bitterly about the situation at the jailhouse. There have been efforts to improve the situation.