Prison locked down after officers attacked
Westgate prison was on lockdown yesterday after three officers, one of them a woman, were attacked by inmates, it was revealed last night.
Prison officers locked inmates in their cells and took away visiting and recreation privileges after their colleagues were attacked yesterday morning.
Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said: “The inmates involved in this incident have been put in segregation.”
Mr Caines said one officer suffered minor facial injuries and had since returned to work.
Another officer sustained a back injury and the third injured a knee.
Both were treated at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital “as a precautionary measure”.
Mr Caines said he was unable to say if a weapon was used in the attacks or how many prisoners were involved in the disturbance.
He added that an investigation into the incident had been launched.
Mr Caines said that extra security measures would be imposed at the prison if needed.
He added: “This matter is under control. We have a contingency plan if things escalate. We do not believe they will escalate.”
Mr Caines added that the safety and security of prison staff was a priority for his ministry.
He said: “We believe that the protection of all of our officers in all of our facilities is paramount.”
Mr Caines added: “We want to make sure that the officers involved in this are not only getting the support through treatment this afternoon, but making sure they are getting the necessary psychological help that they need directly after.”
He admitted that the ageing Westgate facility had problems but that options were limited by budget constraints.
He said: “We value our correctional officers. We understand that they work generally in a stressful environment.
“We will do whatever is necessary to make sure that they are safe and that the facilities they work in are put in their best state.”
However, he admitted that upgrades were a work in progress and would not happen “overnight”.
He said the prison’s alert system and CCTV coverage had been improved.
Mr Caines added: “If there are any breakdowns in any of the security elements, we will look at it and it will remain our priority to make sure that our officers are covered and that their safety is paramount.”
He said that he had met the Prison Officers Association six times and heard their concerns and that a plan was to be implemented to address them.
Mr Caines added that acting Commissioner of Corrections Keeva-Mae Joell-Benjamin had drawn up a plan to tackle problems with the ageing buildings, security and how to deal with prisoners with mental health difficulties.
He said national security officials were in talks with the Ministry of Health and the Bermuda Hospitals Board to try and set up a forensic mental health unit.
Prison officers met last night after the attacks and the acting commissioner is expected to meet the Prison Officers Association on Monday.
Officers from the prison system are also expected to hold a meeting next Friday, which was scheduled before yesterday’s attacks.