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

Commissioner of Prisons (Ag), Dennis Pulchan, is reiterating his and his team’s determination and commitment to ensuring proper management and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 among the prison population—inclusive of staff members, prison officers and inmates—as far as humanly possible.

In an official statement issued this morning, the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service responds to a video currently circulating on social media, in which prisoners reportedly are making claims of neglect.

According to the statement, the Prison Service has implemented several measures to curb COVID’s spread, notwithstanding their major challenges of overcrowding and space constraints.

“Prisoners who have been tested, and those subsequently returning positive results for COVID-19, are immediately separated from the general population,” the statement asserts.

The Prison Service also points out that only those prisoners who possess comorbidities or have underlying medical conditions are sent to public facilities.

In addition, the release explains:

“Due to the large number of persons returning positive results at the same time, and with a view to prevent the spread of the virus, the prisoners have been kept at the Maximum-Security Prison, housed separate and apart from the population.”

It added: “We continue to be guided by the expert advice of the County Medical Office of Health, St. George East, and the importance and practicality of keeping the cluster together was impressed upon, in an effort to contain the virus to the particular location.”

Commissioner of Prisons, Dennis Pulchan, observes that with approximately 3,800 prisoners under its care, the management of COVID-19 within the prison has been managed effectively, thus far.

“All efforts and resources are being utilized with a view to protect all staff members, persons under our charge and by extension, members of the public,” he assures.