Summary of prisons report to be released

  • Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (File photograph)

    Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (File photograph)

The national security minister said on Friday that he was not sure who had seen a special report on the island’s prison system.

Wayne Caines told MPs: “I do not know to whom the report was given. We were given a confidential report ... and we’re looking at the report. I do not know who else has a copy of the report.”

Mr Caines was speaking during parliamentary questions in the House of Assembly.

Keith Munns, a British consultant, carried out the inspection on Bermuda’s prison system last September.

The survey included the troubled maximum security Westgate Correctional Facility, where staff have complained about a variety of health and safety problems.

Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, asked Mr Caines for the “key findings” of the report and for details on the action taken by the Government.

Mr Caines said that a “summary” of the report and the most recent update from the Department of Corrections would be provided to MPs “as soon as is practicable”.

He added that the summarised version of the report would be released “in the interest of transparency, while balancing the need to maintain security and not disclose the standard operating procedures that will put the Department of Corrections and officers at risk”.

Mr Caines told Mr Dunkley that he did not know if a copy of the report had been given to the Prison Officers Association.

Mr Dunkley asked Mr Caines for a time frame for when the report summary would be released to MPs. Mr Caines said: “There are a number of things that are taking place, and will take priority to this, with the POA.

“There are a number of matters that we are dealing with that are in the courts at present.

“We would like to regularise those matters.”

Mr Munns worked in the UK prison service for 42 years and is a former governor of HMP Albany in the Isle of Wight and HMP Wormwood Scrubs in London.

His role is to make sure that the prison systems in the Overseas Territories are in line with UK standards.

Mr Munns was called in to examine the operation of the island’s prison service, which also includes the St George’s Co-Educational Facility and the Prison Farm.

The POA has raised concerns about Westgate, including problems with health and safety related to inadequate staffing, mould infestation, structural fears and burst pipes.

Mr Munns told The Royal Gazette last November that he could not discuss the findings of his report “at this stage”.

Timothy Seon, the chairman of the POA, did not respond to a request for comment.

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Published Feb 17, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 17, 2020 at 8:03 am)

Summary of prisons report to be released

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