by Linda Straker
- New prisoners decontaminated before entering the prison
- No comingling while under quarantine for 14 days in single cells
- Released prisoners dropped off at their place of residence
All persons remanded to prison by an order of the Court will go through a decontamination process before entering the prison, while those who have served time and need to be released will be driven to their residence by prison officers, because there is no public transportation.
John Mitchell, Commissioner of Prisons, said that the decontamination process is a mandatory health protocol adopted by the prison management as part of its strategy to keep the prison environment as a Covid-19 free area.
“We locked down the prison before we had a case in Grenada, and now that there are cases, all incoming prisoners must be sanitised before admission because of the way the virus is transmitted,” Mitchell said, when questioned about the measures adopted for prisons following the lockdown measure in which no one is allowed to visit.
Explaining the process of decontamination, the commissioner said that once the court orders someone to prison, the process starts with a rapid coronavirus test. “That person will be tested for Covid-19 using the rapid test screening kit and that is done by Ministry of Health officials. Upon arrival at the entrance of the prison we have built a new facility where that person is mandated to have a shower, be sanitised and be given new clothing,” he said.
“The person will then enter the main prison area for the formal admission process, then be quarantined for 14 days in a cell.” Mitchell explained that all incoming prisoners are placed in a special area, in single cells. “New prisoners are not allowed to mingle while in quarantine,” he added.
When asked what happens to prisoners who have served their time according to court orders, Mitchell said that because Grenada is still in a state of emergency, and there is no public transportation, all released prisoners are transported directly to their place of residence. “There is no public transportation now as in normal times… we do the paperwork to release them and drop them off.”
Police have confirmed charging more than 100 persons during the State of Emergency period but most of them are placed on bail or will appear in court via summoning. However, at least 4 men including two St Vincent nationals, are known to have been remanded to prison by an order of the magistrate court.
One of the men is charged with non-capital murder, while the others are for crimes relating to violating the drug abuse and money laundering legislations after the men were caught in drug raids conducted by the Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force.