Judge furious that many convicts do not serve full sentences, and illegal drugs are entering the Prison
Justice Errol Thomas is said to be furious, upon learning that many convicts do not serve full sentences, and illegal drugs are entering the State Prison. Acting Prison Superintendent, Raphael Catin, told the court illegal drugs entering the State Prison at Stockfarm is an “ongoing problem”, which is of grave concern to prison officials. He stated at the closing of the Criminal Session of the High Court on Friday, that drugs are continuing to find their way into the facility.
“It’s an ongoing problem for us,” he stated. “People send plastics over the fence with drugs. Last week someone sent a plastic with ganja (marijuana) over the fence, and it was reported to the police, but we have not heard anything yet.” He said guards intercept about 20% of illegal drugs that enter the prison compound.
Catin also reported a drop in the population at the prison, which has a capacity of 275, but at present the population stands at 180, with 178 males and 2 females. 45 of the males were convicted by the High Court, and 94 by Magistrate’s Court. 1 female was convicted by Magistrate’s Court. 31 males and 1 female are on remand, with 8 males awaiting trial. He added that there are 139 male convicts and 1 female, and 2 juveniles are also in custody at the prison.
Responding to questions from Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Evelina Baptiste, Catin said the juveniles are kept separately, but during meals, they interact with the general prison population. He also revealed to that when someone is convicted and sentenced to jail, on entry at the prison one-third of the sentence is removed, and is only added back if the convict “misbehaves.”
But this revelation did not sit well with Justice Errol Thomas. He told Catin that was wrong, and “no prison officer has any power to reduce a prison sentenced imposed by a court. This is unlawful and undermines the rule of law. That can’t be right, you are undermining the authority of the court.” He said the matter should be fixed.
Court reporter Carlisle Jno Baptiste had this to say.
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