Ranks from the Guyana Police Force will be sent to help manage the prisons in Guyana while the authorities work to reduce the high level of corruption involving prison officers.
The Guyana Guardian understands that these corrupt practices are happening mostly at the Lusignan prison on the East Coast of Demerara.
“At the current time, we are losing more prison officers than we are getting in due to corrupt practices. I may have dealt with, between last week and this week, at least five in respect of drug smuggling and other grave indiscretions,” Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn told the media at the sidelines of an event on Wednesday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
He said that a new cohort of prison officers is currently being trained but in the meantime the police ranks will be posted to the prisons. Other corrupt practices found at the Lusignan facility include prison officers who threaten and demand money from targeted prisoners.
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn
Minister Benn had revealed that corruption at the Lusignan prison significantly increased after prisoners were transferred there following the deadly fire at the Camp Street prison in March 2016.
The Lusignan prison has seen its fair share of escapes over the past few years and Minister Benn had stated that the most recent escape is as a result of poor administrative systems and corrupt prison officers.
But an investigation found that were was a lack of adequate CCTV cameras and staff. Efforts are still being made to recapture the two escapees –48-year-old Phillip Jhogroo of Goed Intent, Leguan, Region Three and 40-year-old Donald Baird of Hardina Street, Wortmanville, Georgetown. They escaped from the prison holding bay on November 21 using a rope made from bedsheets.
Meanwhile, Minister Benn is advising other prisoners who may want to escape that their sentences will be extended once they are recaptured.