Minister Lewis Meets with the Point Blanche Prison Inmates Association Hopes to Address Urgent Issues at Point Blanche Prison in the Short Term. 

3096

 

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Friday 31 May 2024, the Honorable Minister of Justice, Lyndon Lewis and his cabinet staff visited the Point Blanche Prison, where he engaged in a significant discussion with the Inmates Association, including President Mr. Danzell Richardson, Vice President Mr. Dante Ottley, Treasurer Mr. Theo Heyligar, Advisor Mr. Joceidi Grell, and Secretary Mr. Vincent Hanley. The meeting focused on several pressing issues affecting the facility’s operations and the well-being of its inmates.

Minister Lewis aims to address some of the most pressing issues in the short term, to ensure that the Prison management provides humane accommodation, coupled with a strong structural rehabilitation program. One of the most important aspects of this is providing a facility that can provide a productive prison environment leading to the reduction of stress, frustration and fights amongst the prison population.

The discussion followed a tour of the facilities in which Minister Lewis and his team were able to conduct a preliminary assessment of basic improvement that could have a significant change in the lives of inmates.

Amongst the issues brought forward by the association was the concerns about the critical lack of security personnel, particularly during night shifts, which creates an unsafe environment for both inmates and staff. This shortage significantly compromises the overall security of the facility.

Another urgent issue discussed was inadequate medical care. The association highlighted the challenges in providing effective medical assistance to inmates, emphasizing the need for substantial improvements in this area.

Several additional concerns were addressed during the meeting, including the current state of the kitchen facilities, which require immediate attention to ensure proper nutrition and food safety for the inmates. The need for clear and structured visitation protocols was also discussed to ensure that all inmates receive their legally stipulated visitation time. Furthermore, the lack of adequate laundry facilities was noted as a significant issue affecting the hygiene and overall well-being of the inmates. The absence of a system to categorize inmates based on their crimes was also highlighted, as it is essential for maintaining order and safety within the prison.

Minister Lewis assured the Prison inmates Association that all the issues and challenges raised have his full attention. He committed to addressing these concerns efficiently and promptly, with the goal of creating a safe and functional environment for both inmates and staff at Point Blanche Prison.

Minister Lewis emphasized ” as Minister of Justice I’m also responsible for the well being of every inmate. I will treat everyone with the same respect. It’s my duty to serve you all just as I do with the rest of the population outside these walls. “