Inmates Bonaire prison on hunger strike again

POSTED: 09/24/13 2:39 PM

KRALENDIJK, Bonaire –Foreign inmates in the prison in Bonaire went on hunger strike again yesterday morning, after they stopped a similar action a couple of weeks ago. Several Bonairean inmates support the action.

A spokesman for the inmates said that the hunger strike will become larger this time. He expects that at least ten inmates will join in.

The inmates ended the previous hunger conditionally. The prison management would amongst others offer a daily activity-program, but so far nothing has happened.

The action that took place a couple of weeks ago has created a lot of tension in the prison. The protesters reason that, based on the old Antillean legislation, they are entitled to early release. The competent authorities admit that this is so. But the situation has changed: the prison now falls under Dutch legislation. The inmates are also upset about the lack of a proper activities-program. They say that the Judicial Facility Caribbean Netherlands –the prison’s official name – has teachers to give lessons in different fields.

“I can say with certainty that more inmates will take part in the hunger strike. We are a group of three Latinos, three from curacao, a Haitian and three Bonaireans,” the spokesman said, adding that the motive for the action is different this time. “We notice neglect from the side of the management and we are being discriminated as well.”

In an official reaction the communication department of Caribbean Netherlands confirmed that five inmates have gone on hunger strike. The prison-management has met with the committee of inmates. Currently, management is busy implementing changes in the day program by adding educational activities.

The management denies however that it does not offer activities in the prison. Last week as well as this week a number of inmates are passing exams for electrical engineering. Last Friday one inmate passed such a test.

Recently two former inmates collected their diploma from forma for a training they had started in prison.

The prison management says that it wants to pay more attention to education for adults, adding that last year an external bureau gave courses for which detainees have received certificates.

The prison management says that it has no authority over early release regulations. “This is about an adjustment of the law that is determined on a higher level.”

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