Major changes at prison after unrest


Dogs are not allowed inside, convicted and remand prisoners are separated, the former prison superintendent no longer works there and the atmosphere is much calmer.

This came to light yesterday after commission chairman Gustave Dodin presented its final report to President James Michel at State House.

Mr Dodin presents the report to President Michel in the presence of Vice-President Belmont (right) and Mr Gabriel

He and commission member Nichol Gabriel also gave a copy of the report to Vice-President Joseph Belmont, who is also the Minister for Internal Affairs.

The commission earlier issued a preliminary report with recommendations that the government took up, as the Department of Internal Affairs carried out its own investigations into what happened on March 11 during disturbances that saw an inmate bitten by a dog.

Mr Belmont said government will study the new report but added that funds have already been set aside to make the changes proposed in the commission’s earlier report and that of the department, although not all the changes will be made at the same time.

Mr Dodin said the findings of his commission and of the department were similar but there were some differences in the conclusions arrived at by both teams of investigators.

The department’s report is, however, attached to that of the commission for a reader to make his or her own conclusions, he said, adding that his team were not there to agree necessarily with what government said.

On the issue of being impartial – given that his brother is in the prison and a fellow commissioner’s clients are also held there – Mr Dodin said any other lawyer would have found himself with clients in the prison, but he sees his team as one made up of professionals who are above emotional considerations.

“We are going to study the report and take the recommended action,” said Mr Belmont.

“We have already implemented some of the recommendations after the March 11 incident for the security of our people and also for the welfare of those who are in the prison.

“We want the public to know that the people in the prison will remain inside without escaping and that the welfare of those inside meets international standards.”

Mr Dodin said “things are going in the right direction” and the commission will continue to monitor the situation there and at various police stations where people are remanded.

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