Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 07, 2020 (SKNIS): Commissioner of Corrections at Her Majesty’s Prison in St. Kitts and Nevis, Terrance James, said that the early release of inmates has to first go through a process before a final decision is made.
“We would have formulated a list of inmates who were nearing the end of their sentences and so these are persons who I had recommended to be released from Her Majesty’s Prison but there is a process that we have to follow. It is not automatic that they would be released. Their names would have been recommended and they would have to be taken back to the court and so there is a process for this that has to be followed for this to take place according to our laws in our Federation,” said Commissioner James.
Commissioner James said that the idea of an early release resulted from discussions with other prison heads across the Caribbean region to address overcrowding.
“On March 25, I would have participated in a video conference with all the Heads of Prisons and Correctional Facilities in the Caribbean region. The major discussion was the COVID-19 and so we met and discussed to see what would be the best practices that we can implement to prevent the virus from entering our prisons,” said Mr. James. “It was a consensus by all heads of the prisons that one of the things we can do immediately is to release inmates because the prisons are overcrowded. And so, we had a consensus by all heads that we can have an early release of non-violent inmates and inmates who are closing in on the ending of their sentence.”
He noted that countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda were able to release inmates from their prisons.
Currently, the prison population in St. Kitts and Nevis stands at 184, 162 are housed in St. Kitts, while 22 are in Nevis.