Missing! One Inspector of Prisons. No wonder there are so many problems within the Prison system in Trinidad.
Since June 2016, there has been no Inspector of Prisons. The term of the last Inspector, Daniel Khan, expired 14 months ago and the Minister of National Security has made no effort to appoint a new Inspector.
Now, the Law Association has expressed concern over the Government’s failure to appoint an Inspector of Prisons.
In a letter to National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, the association’s president Douglas Mendes, SC, said the failure was a cause of concern due to the role of the inspector in monitoring the welfare of incarcerated people.
He added, “Although a person who has been convicted of a crime or who is detained pending trial is constitutionally deprived of his or her right to liberty, the other protections which the Constitution affords are not suspended in the meantime.
“Each prisoner is entitled to be treated with dignity and in accordance with the prison rules. The inspector plays a crucial role in ensuring that the State lives up to these obligations and expectations.”
While Mendes said that his organisation was hopeful that the appointment would be made with “due dispatch”, he offered assistance to Dillon.
He added, “If there is anything which the Law Association can do to hasten this process, please let me know.”
During his tenure as Inspector of Prisons, Khan submitted annual reports to the Government in which he described the conditions in local prisons as disgusting and sickening.
In addition to the conditions for both remand and convicted inmates, Khan also called for the reform of archaic prison rules to reduce incidents of prison beatings, which results in prisoners winning sizeable compensation from the State.