Conditions at Fox Hill Prison, the country’s only prison, remained harsh and unsanitary for many prisoners. Overcrowding was a major problem in the men’s maximum-security block. Originally built in 1953 to hold 450 inmates, it held 700 of the country’s 1,300 prisoners. To address overcrowding in the Remand Center at the same site, stemming from processing backlogs within the judicial system, approximately 300 detainees awaiting trial were housed in the maximum-security block while they awaited trial. The remaining prisoners were held in medium- and minimum-security units that were at intended capacity.
Due to overcrowding in the maximum-security block, three or four male prisoners were forced to live in cells originally intended for one or two prisoners. Others remained in poorly ventilated and poorly lit cells that lacked regular running water. In 2010 authorities installed composting toilets in an attempt to move away from the unsanitary practice of removing human waste by bucket called “slopping.” However, these toilets were ineffective and were subsequently removed, and slopping resumed. Maximum-security inmates were allowed outside for exercise four days a week for one hour per day.
Four reverse osmosis units installed at various prison housing units allowed each inmate to extract a minimum of one gallon of potable water during exercise time each day, free of charge. In addition, bottled water was available for purchase from the inmate commissary.
Conditions for female prisoners were less severe than for men; however, women did not have access to the same work-release programs available to male prisoners.
The prison did not have a separate section for juvenile offenders between the ages of 16 and 18 but used a classification system to attempt to separate them from the most dangerous adults. Offenders younger than 16, along with children made wards of the court by their parents, were held at the Simpson Penn Center for Boys and the Williamae Pratt Center for Girls. After five boys escaped from the Simpson Penn Center in October, the minister of state for social development declared that the center was not adequately staffed but asserted that the government would hire more staff to remedy the situation.
Generally prisoners and detainees had reasonable access to visitors and were permitted religious observance. Organizations providing aid, counseling services, and religious instruction had regular access to inmates. At their request, prisoners are entitled to an audience with the superintendent or a designee to lodge complaints. The superintendent was available to hear the complaints of prisoners every day of the week except Sundays. The government said that there were 20 complaints to judicial authorities about situations in the prison, mostly related to a desire to be placed in the day-release work program, a shortage of recreational equipment, and greater access to dental facilities. Officials stated that they investigated all credible allegations. Authorities conducted 43 preliminary inquiries and 25 investigations of staff and inmates. There were three inmate deaths during the year.
The highest occupancy at the Carmichael Road Immigrant Detention Center during the year was 455 persons. The center was originally a school and was converted into a detention center in the mid-1990s to accommodate the increase in number of illegal migrants. When the center initially opened, it consisted of four dormitories, each with a 50-bed capacity. Two of those dormitories burned down, limiting the current facility to two dormitories with the capacity for 100 detainees. The dormitories were gender-segregated and secured using locked gates, metal fencing, and barbed wire. When the dormitories are at maximum capacity, detention center staff utilize the floor of the main hall in the medical building to accommodate up to another 50 individuals with sleeping space. Any additional detainees sleep outside.
As of December 8, there were 109 detainees (86 men, 17 women, and six children). Authorities held six detainees for more than 18 months and four others for more than 12 months. Haitians and Jamaicans were the most commonly interdicted migrants. In October authorities temporarily transferred 65 detainees to the Fox Hill Prison after a Haitian migrant tested positive for cholera. No further cases were reported. The center transferred child detainees intercepted without their parents to a hostel separate from the detention center. Child detainees with a parent were held in the women’s dormitory at the detention center.
Authorities reported no complaints from detainees during the year. However, detainees did not have access to an ombudsman or other means of submitting uncensored complaints, although they did have access to public pay telephones. Earlier in the year, as a result of a well malfunction, there were unsanitary conditions in the toilet and shower facilities, as well as a lack of potable water. Authorities subsequently remedied these conditions, and in December drinking water was available from a tap in the men’s facility. The bathroom sinks in the women’s facility were not functioning but the toilets and shower were in working order. Women drew their drinking water from the shower.
The government introduced additional bureaucratic procedures for some nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to gain access to the detention center, making it difficult to visit detainees on a regular basis. Human rights organizations complained that donations made to the detention center did not appear to be utilized for the benefit of detainees.