Inmate sawed his way out of cell
Prison authorities have discovered another cell window bar that was tampered with after it was discovered that an inmate serving a lengthy sentence at Westgate Correctional Facility “sawed” his way out of his cell.
The breach of security occurred during the early hours of Friday, May 24 at about 1.50am. And prison authorities have video footage showing the inmate climbing out of his cell and going to the perimeter wall to retrieve items.
The items seized by Corrections Officers and subsequently handed over to the Police to assist in the criminal investigation include cell phone batteries, chargers and foodstuffs. Whether or not the inmate will be charged remains to be seen.
In a statement obtained by
The Royal Gazette the Minister said: “The inmate in question was able to exit his cell in the Maximum Security Unit having sawn through a cell window bar and subsequently through a hole in the grill immediately outside his cell window.” The inmate has been transferred to a cell in the Segregation Unit.
Mr Dunkley is due to make a Ministerial Statement in the House of Assembly to update MPs today. Following briefings by Permanent Secretary Marc Telemaque and Commissioner of Corrections Edward Lamb, he said: “The safety and security of the officers, inmates and people of Bermuda is a top priority.”
Mr Dunkley said: “A 100 percent check of all window bars in the Maximum and Segregation Units has been conducted and one other cell window bar was found to be tampered with.
“Immediate modifications to the Maximum Security Unit’s cells will be made to improve upon the security they are designed to provide.”
A local welder “who is most familiar with Westgate has been engaged to inspect the cell-window bars”. A report on the state of the cells with any necessary recommendations will be forwarded to the Commissioner.
He conceded that the recent incident “revealed areas in need of improvement”. But he said: “It is the vigilance of the officers on duty at the time that saved the day.”
Prison officers are now charged with performing daily checks “to verify the integrity of the systems on which the facility relies to provide secure environments”. In the Maximum Unit all grills, windows, fencing and the perimeter wall were inspected.
The Minister confirmed that officers and senior staff conducted “a surprise, full-scale search throughout the entire facility during which a full lockdown was in effect” which will “become more frequent” in order to maintain high security standards.
The Commissioner has also “instituted rigid internal checks to ensure cell and Unit integrity”. Officers will also be reminded of the “importance of adhering to standard procedures that support the safety of inmates and their colleagues working within the facility”.
“Their quick action at a time when most of us were asleep and resting for the Bermuda Day festivities served to demonstrate that there is no substitute for well trained, alert and dedicated men and women in public service. I wish to thank them for their actions in the course of their duty and support the Commissioner’s intent to specially commend them,” he said.
“Let me again assure the people of Bermuda that this Government takes seriously the safety and security of the people. The Commissioner of Corrections and his officers acted quickly and decisively.
“Since this incident, no effort has been spared to address the issues, and accountability at all levels has been the order of the day. Internal procedures have been strengthened and a heightened awareness of the importance of even routine tasks has been reinforced by the Commissioner and his senior command team.”
The Minister is due to go to Westgate next week to see how the actions taken have impacted security.
Mr Dunkley concluded: “The Commissioner and his officers deserve our support as they manage the challenges presented in modern-day corrections.”