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Minister says 25 new prison officers being recruited

Westgate Correctional Facility (File photograph)

Staffing at Westgate prison is getting bolstered with the recruitment of 25 new Corrections officers, national security minister Michael Weeks revealed this week.

Mr Weeks said staffing at the West End facility topped concerns raised by prison officers during his recent tour of the facility.

Five staff recruited in August are “already on shift as new prison officers” with training continuing.

He said the Prison Officers Association was “satisfied that as minister I am listening and trying to influence where I can”.

The POA chairman, Timothy Seon, raised a host of concerns this September, including safety, poor ventilation and heat, a lack of court-ordered programmes for parole.

Mr Weeks added: “As far as the physical structure is concerned, I met with the Minister of Public Works and we are due to go up there together and look at it.”

Westgate opened in 1994, and Mr Weeks said that as a large building close to the waterside it needed “constant maintenance”.

Mr Weeks said repairs and maintenance would be budgeted – and that he would “endeavour” to have funds allocated for the 2023-24 Budget to meet concerns raised by inmates on “educational opportunities and programmes while incarcerated”.

Mr Weeks noted that three officers had recently gone before the courts, including two charged with driving while impaired, but said holding them to account was something the Commissioner “has in hand”.

He said a strategy against community violence was being drawn up after a retreat held in August on tackling gang violence.

“We were happy to have participants from all skill sets,” he said. “Now we are tabulating that information.”

• To read the minister’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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Published November 12, 2022 at 8:06 am (Updated November 12, 2022 at 8:06 am)

Minister says 25 new prison officers being recruited

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