Inmates Association proposes solutions for prison cell shortage

POSTED: 03/8/11 12:35 PM

Pointe Blanche renovation requires relocating 30 inmates

St. Maarten – The complicated situation in the filled to capacity Pointe Blanche prison will get even more complicated when the renovation of the facility gets underway. A letter from the Inmates association to director Rudsel Ricardo dated October 4, 2010, states that for this project “approximately 30 inmates will have to be relocated.” The renovation project will take about two years to complete.
The Pointe Blanche Inmates Association sent a copy of the letter to Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos. In it, the inmates outline proposals to alleviate the pressure on the cell capacity. The first proposal is to suspend the detention of inmates whose earliest release date falls between January 1 of this year and January 1, 2013.
To minimize any form of discrimination, the Inmates association wrote, “we suggest a local to foreigner ratio of 66.6:33.3. the association points out that foreigners already have an advantage over locals with the foreigners pardon for sentences less than five years.
The association suggested establishing a neutral board with representatives of the prosecutor’s office, the parole board, and the prison, plus a lawyer and a psychologist charges with determining the criteria for suspension of detention.
“If the 32 new cell spaces are occupied by inmates who have already been convicted, there won’t be sufficient spaces left for suspects who are currently under investigation. They have to endure the overcrowded and inhumane conditions of the current detention cells,” the association wrote. “It is a better and safer option for the justice system to carefully select and suspend sentences of inmates that have already been through the rehabilitation process.”
The association also drafted a list of guidelines inmates who want to qualify for suspension have to follow among them is the obligation to stick to a proper daily schedule that has to be submitted to the probation department, the obligation to stay at home between seven o’clock at night and six o’clock in the morning, singing in once a week at the prosecutor’s office, handing over their passport to this office and seeking counsel with a parole officer at least once a week.
Foreign inmates eligible for this program “will be deported back to their country of origin and subjected to the same restrictions that apply when a foreigner’s pardon is granted.”

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