Commissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan.

Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan has revealed that they are now facing a major challenge as some 28 prison officers have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the administration to place another 231 officers in quarantine.

Speaking to host Natalee Legore on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday, Pulchan said having so many officers out of active duty had put a strain on the resources.

Pulchan said luckily, there are 300 new recruits taking up the shifts and supplementing any shortages. However, he said airing time for inmates has been affected as they are now confined to their cells to reduce movement.

He said the Prison Service is taking all precautions when it comes to mitigating the spread of the virus. This entails collecting data in real-time through its newly-established command centre, which monitors inmates and officers daily.

The centre was set up last week at the Golden Grove Prison and daily reports from every station are mandatory to provide information, inclusive of staff attendance and status, enhanced prisoner observation, sanitisation methods and frequencies.

Pulchan, who heads the centre, said all prisoners are constantly monitored for any signs and symptoms and testing has been performed on those displaying any signs and symptoms. He reminded members of the public that the commissary remains functional for purchases for prisoners and virtual visits continue.