Trinidad: A party in prison?

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – COMMISSIONER of Prisons Gerard Wilson says he is disgusted, embarrassed and unable to make excuses for a circulating video showing inmates partying in prison.

Wilson said that the footage showed a lack of supervision by prison officers and he intends to find ways to deal with such incidents.

“(The video) shows the lack of supervision and I am disgusted about it. I am putting some things in place to ensure that when you have videos like that that I am able to take some level of actions against officers. I have been trying to do so much to improve the whole prisons system. Every time you make a step forward you make two steps backwards and then you see videos like this. It is embarrassing. It is not something I am happy about at all. Anytime I see a video like that it saddens me. I cannot make any excuses for it. There is no excuse for the lack of supervision from officers”, Wilson said during a telephone interview with the Express on Tuesday.

The video is the latest showing inmates enjoying a level of freedom where they are smoking marijuana, moving between cells with the doors wide open, and with loud music playing in the background.

The walls of the cell in which the latest video was shot were drawn with graffiti.

Previous videos have shown inmates having food feasts and dancing.

Wilson said although that the latest video was shot several weeks ago, he was still very concerned about what was shown.

“Just this morning I had a discussion about it. Sometimes you may not have all the resources you would like to have in order to avoid things like these. But if there is lack of supervision then I have to find another creative way to ensure that officers pay the price. It is obvious that based on what I saw on the video that prison officers were nowhere to be found”, he said.

“I make no excuses for them. I say it as it is. How can I make an excuse for a video like that where inmates, it seems to me, are smoking marijuana, and the cell door is open and it is like a free for all? I can’t make excuses for that. I say all the time that I will say things as they are and if we are at fault I will say so. I have to find ways to deal with these kinds of things and make officers accountable for them”, said Wilson.