Inmates say of the crimes being orchestrated in communities by gangs from within the prison, 32 percent of them are murders, according to a study by the University of The Bahamas (UB).
The study was conducted in 2016 with surveys from 369 inmates of the Bahamas Department of Corrections (BDOC) facility at Fox Hill.
However, Acting BDOC Commissioner Charles Murphy said while he appreciated the study being conducted, he believes that it has no merit, because many of the people interviewed are not credible.
The report, “Our Prisoners”, states that inmates believe 23 percent of the crimes being orchestrated from prison are robberies, 20.1 percent of the crimes being orchestrated from prison involve trafficking and eight percent of the crimes being orchestrated from prison are kidnappings.
Inmates believe that many other crimes, some of them less serious, are being orchestrated from behind bars as well.
“Everything can be done from jail,” stated an unsolicited comment from an inmate. “I know of inmates selling drugs from jail.”
Murphy said while the researchers are credible, many of the inmates are not.
“While the people who wrote it are persons of credibility, the persons who they would have gotten the information from, many of them are not credible,” Murphy said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.
“Because a credible messenger brings the message does not mean the message is credible.
“Which makes the messenger [not credible].
“So, having seen and heard all of those sweeping, baseless allegations, what [does] that say to you?
“It is not credible.
“You can ask a fellow who is charged multiple times maybe, for the most heinous things, who wants his freedom, questions and you are going to take it with hook, line and sinker?
“If I was a reporter, I would not even look at that.
“I would not even look at that report.”
He added, “…I’m not saying that what they’re saying is true or not but I’m saying, the first question mark is the individuals who you are questioning.”
Last April, more than 200 law enforcement officers raided the BDOC and uncovered 19 cell phones, 11 cell phone chargers, various drugs and a number of handmade shanks.
A viral video of inmates handling contraband prompted the search.
At the time, Deputy BDOC Commissioner Bernadette Thompson-Murray acknowledged that some of the prison staff are complicit in smuggling the contraband into the facility.
She insisted that though measures such as searching prison officers before entering the facility are carried out, “you will have some form of corruption and if there is a networking done, things can get through”.
Police suspect these activities are gang-related, according to the report which describes the activities as an “open secret”.
The report also suggests that the knowledge of crimes being orchestrated from prison suggests that successful interruption of communications between inmates and outside operatives could result in lowering the country’s number of violent crimes.
Murphy said that he could not speak to whether crimes are being orchestrated from prison or not, but asserted that he had no knowledge of those activities.
Asked about the prison’s corruption problem, Murphy said, “The country has a corruption problem.
“The same people in prison are those that came out of society.
“Prison is a microcosm of society.
“So, there is nothing strange or nothing that is so outrageous or so far-fetched from prison that you wouldn’t find equal or more in society.
“If you go in the church and find that, that’s when you say, ‘What?’, you don’t expect that there.
“Why? [Because] we believe that the persons who are in the church should be of a certain standard and class, right.
“But you coming in prison to ask…?”
He laughed and added, “It’s like going into a graveyard and asking, ‘Do we have any dead people here?’”