File picture: Prisoners get air time at the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca

Prisons officials have drafted a strategy on how inmates with COVID-19 are to be treated and housed for their respective 14-day quarantine while still in the prison system, as the facility designated for them has now spilt over due to the increasing numbers.

This was yesterday confirmed by acting Commissioner of Prisons, Dennis Pulchan who has been having regular meetings with medical officials since 260 inmates have tested positive for the virus so far.

Pulchan did not disclose many details of the strategy but assured that everything possible will be done for the well being of inmates.

“I was guided into some new measures to treat with COVID in prison. I really got lots of useful tips and we will do everything possible for the inmates’ well-being,” Pulchan said.

Just last Friday, 141 inmates at the Golden Grove Remand Yard were swabbed for testing. This was in addition to one month ago where 222 inmates from the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) were swabbed in addition to 12 prison officers, whose test results are still pending.

On Tuesday, there was a second attempt of a riot within the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) in Arouca where additional reinforcement of a special prisons unit had to be called in to quell the situation.

Guardian Media understands that this time inmates protested over the failure of the judicial system where they are not being taken before their respective judges and magistrates.

Guardian Media was told by prison sources that there was a stand-off between inmates and prison officers sometime after 2 pm Tuesday.

Pulchan, in responding to Tuesday’s incident, said an inmate has been identified as being the one who threw prisoners’ meals on the floor.

He said the inmate will be disciplined according to orders by the Superintendent of the Prisons.

Asked what caused the outburst by the inmate, Pulchan said he was angry over the fact that he did not get his visitor’s bag of goodies. This incident caused a domino effect of other inmates who began quarrelling over the COVID-19 pandemic and the judicial system in which they are not being brought to the courts to have their matters heard.

Pulchan, on Tuesday, made it clear that he won’t condone any type of violence from inmates.

“I won’t let inmates use violence to make a point. The MSP is filled with COVID-19 and most of the court administrators are not coming to the MSP…We had discussions to train officers to handle the virtual courts. For the time being…that training from the Judiciary have not commenced.”

Pulchan is not sure as to when virtual hearings will in fact commence.