Activist to mount legal challenge over poor prison conditions in Antigua and Barbuda

An outside toilet at HMP

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.

Shower Area

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.

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  1. Can the activist educate young ppl about what is right and what is wrong.
    Say no to drugs
    Say no to breaking and entering
    Also voice ur concern @ stolen goods .
    There will always be thieves if there are people who keep on buying stolen goods.

  2. It’s time to get it in our heads that crime does not pay, and that we reap what we sow. The law is for the lawless. It’s not a nice place, and it shouldn’t be. Nobody should ever want to end up there, and those who have been there never want to go back. That’s the way it should be. Behave yourself and be a productive, law-abiding citizen!!!!.

    If we want to do something about overcrowding, we should urge the judges to sentence every murderer who has been found guilty, to be hung by the neck until dead That’s in the law, and it’s pure justice, an eye for an eye. We should follow the example of our friends in China and the United States. If we do, and every killer faces the hanging noose, we’ll have lots of empty space in Her Majesty’s guest house.

  3. Hopefully while they are at it, they can do the same and remove traitor dictator Gaston for screwing us and our nation.

  4. KRISTI I see that you have completely misunderstood the point of the work of the activist Jessica Thompson. The issue is not just about overcrowding, and overcrowding is also a breach of a prisoner’s human right since each prisoner is entitled to certain physical space. The more important point though, is the inhumane conditions that exist in the prison that are not even fit for animals. That is why the British prisoner is not kept there but rather up at the Navy Base. You see KRISTI he is human but our local prisoners are perhaps animals.

  5. That’s why they said we were captured in Africa instead of being kidnapped because animals are captured and people are kidnapped… The prison was built in the year 1735 to accommodate runaway slaves not anyone else to this day hence the reason why the british guy is at the navy base living life. We are still slaves and are afraid to do anything about it but kudos to miss jessica for stepping up

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