Real News: A constitutional motion is to be filed against the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in protest of the deplorable conditions at Her Majesty’s Prison.
Prison-reform advocate Jessica Thompson will be leading the fight.
Thompson, who has had firsthand experience of the environment in the penal institution, says the authorities do not seem to care about the inhumane conditions there.
Accordingly, Thompson is seeking the public’s assistance in her fight for better prison conditions through the solicitation of funds. Donations can be made through the law office of Lake and Kentish, she says.
This is a matter in which members of the public should be interested, Thompson says, since many persons have – or have had –
relatives in prison, and they would have been impacted by the conditions there.
In spite of the offences for which some persons might have been imprisoned, they are still human beings and deserve better treatment, the activist insists.
Thompson points out that special arrangements were made to accommodate the ex-British police officer convicted of rape. Accordingly, she accuses the Government of treating locals like animals, while it will bend over backwards to accommodate others.
While several prison officers have begun to speak out about the less-than-humane conditions in which prisoners exist, she says much more needs to be done to make inmates’ lives better and the physical situation more comfortable.
Thompson says that Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin has never reached out to her. But while she was given assurances by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, nothing has been done, to date, to improve the situation.
Meanwhile, the Administration recently promised that it will ease the overcrowding at the facility by releasing low-risk inmates and fitting them with bracelets that track their whereabouts.
Thompson, who spent several months on remand, has staged a series of weekly pickets at the prison and been joined by other activists. On account of her underlying medical condition, she explains, she halted her public protests when COVID-19 cases began to rise.
Once the cases fall to a manageable level, she says she will return to the picket line.