A new facility is expected to be constructed at The Bahamas Department of Correctional Services by the end of 2020 in an attempt to address the prison’s longstanding overcrowding problem, Commissioner of Corrections Charles Murphy told The Nassau Guardian on a recent tour of the prison compound.
“It will have all of the necessary security measures of a modern correctional facility,” the commissioner said.
“It will have the laundry, proper kitchen facility, a mini hospital with a psychiatric unit. It will have a day session room to conduct classes for inmates. Everything that makes a house modern, as far as possible, that will be in that facility [including] running water and showers.”
Murphy added, “Everything that is financially possible, we’re going to have it.”
He said the new facility will be energy saving and will have toilets in the cells for inmates as well as a counseling center to aid the rehabilitation of inmates.
“This unit that will be built will bring our correctional system into the first world and to first world status,” Murphy said.
“No longer will you be able to continuously point at how antiquated the conditions are at the prison. Everything will be to international standards, first world standards.”
He said the new building will be a “high medium” facility which is “a medium security but the security measures will not be as intense as max but not as relaxed as a minimum security”.
Asked when the construction of the facility was expected to be completed, Murphy said, “I hope to see that in the shortest span of time.”
When asked if it would be completed by next year, he replied, “Hopefully. I hope that we will see some sign of it either coming out of the ground or being completed, between coming out and completion sometime next year [or] by the end of next year.”
Murphy said the prison is grappling with severe overcrowding and he hopes the new facility will address the issue.
“We’re seeking to get a new facility built,” he said.
“One that will house 700 inmates as to relieve the pressure of the maximum security prison.”
Murphy added, “When normally you hear overcrowding, you think it’s prison in general but the overcrowding really is in the maximum security and in the remand center. We have five housing units here: the female prison, the maximum security, the remand center, medium security and minimum security. We normally experience the overcrowding in the maximum security predominantly.”
The prison has 1,776 inmates.
According to the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, there were 1,322 inmates at the prison in 2010.