Prison conditions were generally adequate, although they varied depending on the facility.
Physical Conditions: Her Majesty’s Prison, which operated at full capacity, continued to be a very cramped facility, housed in an old building in the city center. Key problems included the inability to segregate prisoners who misbehave, gang activity, and contraband, including cell phones and drugs. The facility housed seven women, who were held separately from the men.
Living conditions in the newer Belle Isle facility represented a significant improvement over Her Majesty’s Prison. Belle Isle held an additional 225 prisoners and was not fully occupied. Authorities reported 36 prisoners between the ages of 16 and 21 who were held with adult prisoners. Authorities reported 13 prisoners as HIV positive, 10 of whom were receiving antiretroviral treatment, although medical care was available to all HIV-positive prisoners. Prisoners had access to food and potable water. The government reported accommodations for prisoners with disabilities.
The antiquated and unhygienic Fort Charlotte Prison for female prisoners closed in 2015. The female prisoners were moved to Her Majesty’s Prison and occupied the second floor of one of its buildings.
Conditions were inadequate for juvenile offenders. Authorities held the 36 offenders between the ages of 16 and 21 years of age with adult convicted prisoners. There were no inmates under 16, but civil society organizations reported that, as of August, 11 offenders under the age of 16 were being detained at a police station.
Administration: Recordkeeping on prisoners was adequate. Courts often released nonviolent offenders on bond instead of sentencing them to prison terms. The conditions of the bond required good behavior on the part of the offender to avoid serving time in prison. Each convict could have one visitor per week. There were no limitations on visitors for pretrial detainees. While there was no official prison ombudsman, a prison board composed of a magistrate and a justice of the peace visited both prisons bimonthly. During the visits prisoners with complaints could speak directly to the board. In addition prisoners could file complaints by writing the court registrar.
Independent Monitoring: In addition to the prison board, the government permitted prison visits by independent human rights observers, and such visits took place during the year.