Prison action escalates as civilians join the protest

Members of human rights group Young Justice protested outside His Majesty’s Prison yesterday (Photo Source: Observer)

Protests against prison conditions yesterday reached the other side of His Majesty’s Prison walls as members of Youth Justice (YJ), a local human rights organisation, turned out in a show of support for inmates.

Prisoners have been complaining for days about inadequate or absent food, worsened by shortages of cooking gas.

The situation at the prison intensified on Monday with officers allegedly resorting to the use of tear gas and rubber bullets after prisoners escaped their cells after days of being under total lockdown.

This lockdown left them unable to do laundry or empty the slop buckets used as makeshift toilets.

They also say that prison authorities failed to deliver on promised solutions.

Things came to a head with reports of injury amongst prisoners due to alleged police violence and the use of rubber bullets at close range that went untreated.

YJ President, Trevor Young, led the charge Tuesday morning, calling for more humane treatment for the inmates, stating that a prison is meant for rehabilitation, not humiliation.

Protestors on the scene told Observer that three police vehicles filled with heavily armed officers had arrived at the prison earlier yesterday morning with shipments of bottled water being delivered shortly after.

Young and other protestors stated their intentions to continue protesting daily on behalf of the prisoners until changes are made to improve the situation within HMP.

Steadroy Benjamin, government minister with responsibility for the prison, told Observer on Monday night that food given to inmates was of sufficient quality and that action would be taken to address other issues at the penal institution.

Prison boss Jermaine Anthony told Observer last Friday that the kitchen had been forced to ration dwindling supplies of cooking gas and that inmates had been refusing to eat the food they were served.

He has declined to comment since.

SOURCE: Observer

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  1. Prisoners human rights?! Don’t make me laugh!

    if their crimes and misdemeanours were made public, these out of touch supporters would soon change their tune.

    … And where are the VICTIM support groups in Antigua?

    How about the victims HUMAN rights?

    Again, back to front thinking in our country. Help mi …

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