Prison Service lacks resources to deal with mentally ill inmates – CoI

first_imgThe Guyana Prison Service (GPS) has no resources, financial or human, to deal with mentally ill prisoners. ThisCoI Commissioners Dale Erskine, Chairman James Patterson and Merle Mendoncawas concluded by the Commission of Inquiry into the deadly Camp Street Prison riot which occurred earlier this year. According to findings of the CoI report, the GPS was noted as “the major casualty of as an inexcusably primitive approach” to mental health in Guyana.The Commissioners pointed out that even though the prison service lacks the requisite resources to integrate the psychologically challenged inmates; those who pass through the courts still end up in the facilities of the over-crowded penitentiary. While the Commissioners recommended that the Public Health Ministry provide a full-time medical doctor at the prison, they noted that the delivery of routine medical care, including mental health services, remains a constant problem.It was further pointed out that the lack of medical care brings “systematic hardship on all aspects of prison life” since less concern is devoted to the stressful effect on other prisoners who live with mentally ill inmates in the over-crowded spaces.Commissioners also recommended that an intervention led by the Public Health Ministry in collaboration with the magistracy, the Police and the prison service is urgently needed to better integrate these prisoners.When Chief Prison Officer, Medex Patricia Anderson testified to the Commission, she noted the grave emotional impact which the riots had on the staff of the prison. At that point, Chairman Patterson expressed shock that the prison did not have a permanent doctor stationed there.The CoI ran from March 8 to May 9, 2016 and the report was handed over to the President David Granger on the first of June. The Head of State ordered the inquiry into the fire after inmates met with Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan after a “gentlemen’s agreement” was reached. It was after two days of rioting at the Camp Street penitentiary and the death of 17 inmates after fire engulfed the Capital A Block on March 3.It was concluded that the fires were as a result of the actions by inmates.last_img

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