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COVID-19 Prison Crisis - January 8 - 2022

Stand Up for Jamaica (SUFJ) is againraising alarm about themanagement of the COVID-19 cases in the prisons.There has been asteady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases within correctional facilities. We are concerned that these numbers are lost in the overall tally reported each day. The conditions of the prisons are a recipe for a crisis and we are yet to see decisive action taken to minimize the threat.

The Department of Correctional Services is reporting that there is an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among the inmate and staff population in correctional centers.

Currently, eight inmates have tested positive for the virus.

15 staff members have tested positive and are now in isolation.

It has become clear that the steps taken to increase adherence to the COVID-19 protocols of the Ministry of Health and Wellness are not enough to stem the rise in cases.

It is against this backdrop that Stand Up for Jamaica reiterates its calls for immediate steps taken to reduce the population in police lockups, remand centers, and correctional centers by releasing from detention:

  1. Anyone that fits the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ criteria for at-risk groups:

i. Persons 60 years and older

ii. Persons with a weakened immune system

iii. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy

iv. Persons with chronic illnesses including heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, and diabetes

2. Urgent action is specifically required towards Children detained in lock-ups, remand centers, and correctional centers deemed uncontrollable. Those minors did not commit a crime and their isolation from their families is cruel and leads to depression and aggressive behavior.

3. Anyone:

i. being held on remand for inability to pay cash bail

ii. incarcerated with a release date in 2020

iii. incarcerated for failure to pay fines

iv. mentally ill detained,according to INDECOM report, since 30 years without trial

v. special mention needs to be done towards the many who applied for parole some of them did it since 3 years and they are still incarcerated. We wish to see a more transparent process about criteria to obtain parole and about how Parole Board is operating and how often they meet .They should meet every month and grant parole to some applications !

One more press release and one more appeal to mercy and for action

Are we going to hear any answerat this time?


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