According to a recent Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study, 65 percent of Bahamian inmates said they believe drugs are easy to get in prison, with 63 percent indicating their belief that prison staff are responsible for bringing drugs into the facility.
The report, Survey of Individuals Deprived of Liberty: Caribbean (2016 – 2019), examines data from six Caribbean countries: The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
“A large proportion of the prison population believed that it was easy to obtain drugs or alcohol while inside the prison, especially in The Bahamas, where 65 percent of the inmates held this belief, followed by 50 percent in Trinidad and Tobago 50 percent and 49 percent in Barbados,” the report stated.
“In contrast, Jamaica (29 percent) and Guyana (36 percent) had the lowest proportion of inmates who held similar opinions.”
In most of the countries, a significant portion of respondents said they believed prison staff were responsible.
Seventy percent of respondents in Trinidad believed this to be the case, 59 percent in Barbados and 45 percent in Jamaica.
Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed in The Bahamas said they have used drugs in prison, compared to 44 percent in Jamaica, 39 percent in Trinidad, 24 percent in Guyana, 19 percent in Suriname and 12 percent in Barbados.
“The majority of inmates in the Caribbean believed that prison staff was responsible for bringing drugs and/or alcohol into the prison, though a significant proportion of individuals said they did not know how such substances were smuggled into prison, which might reflect underreporting of drug smuggling, which can affect the findings,” the report stated.
“Broadly speaking, these indicators draw attention to the problem of drugs and alcohol within prisons and the likelihood that correctional agents are key actors in smuggling drugs into prisons.”