Assistant Superintendent of the Dominica State Prison, Handel Joseph said the growing population of mentally ill inmates at the facility continues to be a challenge.
“The number of mentally ill inmates at the institution continues to be a challenge for us,” he indicated, speaking recently on the issue at the State Prison.
He also highlighted ongoing security concerns and the overall effects of a congested system.
Joseph reported that there are 46 mentally ill inmates at the prison and broke down the current population as follows:
“Presently there are 131 inmates on remand, 23 of these inmates have been on remand for more than three years, with the longest remand period of an inmate being 7 years,” he said.
“From the magistrates court 98 males, one female, from the High Court 30 males and one female,” he revealed.
“Remands, 127 males, one female. Trial one male and no females.”
Joseph continued, “That brings us to 258 males and three females, a total of 261.”
Furthermore, he said there are 24 foreign nationals at the state prison.
“Fourteen are Venezuelans, three St Lucians, three from St Maarten, two from Haiti, one from Trinidad and Tobago, one from Italy,” Joseph revealed. “Fourteen of these foreign nationals are committed and ten are on remand.”
Joseph explained that among the prison population, there is no juvenile.
Meanwhile, he stated that unauthorized articles continue to find their way into the prison compound.
“Perpetrators cut through the fence to place and send unauthorized articles into the prison compound,” he revealed.
A new wall is currently under construction at the facility with the aim of mitigating this concern, an effort that is clearly needed amidst the convolution of a heavily weighted system.
“We hope that when the new fence is completed this practice will cease.”