All visits at all prisons suspended immediately

Story by RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT

All visits at all of the nation’s prisons have been suspended, until further notice and with immediate effect as of Tuesday 31 March 2020.

The order was handed down by Commissioner of Prisons (Ag), Dennis Pulchan, in an official statement issued today.

In the statement, the Prisons Commissioner says the drastic measure came as a direct result of the medical advice to take certain measures to protect the prison environment from any possible contamination, and in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the prison population.

Commissioner Pulchan said that families were allowed to visit the prisons last weekend to purchase items for their loved ones. He said the proactive measure was facilitated to allow the clients to obtain their items before suspending contact to protect them.

He is advising members of the public that all feasible measures have been implemented within the nation’s prisons, in an effort to lower the risk of virus transmission, to both staff and inmates.

Among the measures he disclosed are: thermal scans of all persons entering the prisons; additional sinks installed at strategic points within the prisons; sanitisation of buildings; and the posting of educational signage about the virus, its symptoms and precautionary measures, in all prisons.

Commissioner Pulchan also revealed that the T&T Prison Service will be implementing video conferencing via Skype for clients to communicate with their families. This will be done by prearranged appointments.

“Families are reminded that the Prison Service’s telephone landline system remains in operation for clients to speak with their families,” Pulchan assured.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service continues to monitor the development of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation and will give a subsequent update on the commencement of the video conferencing and eventually, the re-establishment of visits, ” he added.