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Prison commissioner rejects staff association claims

Commissioner of Correctional Services Charles Murphy yesterday dismissed claims of victimization made by the Correctional Officers Staff Association, adding that its president is simply seeking votes for an upcoming election. 

The association’s elections are slated for February 25, 2020. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the association threatened to revolt against the commissioner over alleged continuous incidents of victimization. 

The association’s president, Ryan Wilson, also accused the commissioner of using intimidation tactics like “transfers and walkabouts”. 

“Elections are coming up, and Mr. Wilson is now trying to build a smoke screen so that he can be elected,” Murphy said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian

“After two years, nothing happened. So, he has to build a smoke screen to be elected.”

Murphy was also accused of exhibiting signs of a dictator who creates “whim policies” to further victimize the staff.

In response to this, Murphy said he was unaware that he was displaying such behavior.

“I’m not aware of any issues he’s talking about,” Murphy said. 

“I’m the commissioner. I do walkabouts. I don’t know of any intimidation tactics. 

“We have a Correctional [Services] Act that we run the prison by.

“We have policies and procedures that govern us, and it is my duty and the duty of every correctional officer that those polices, procedures and the act is enforced.”

According to an administrative order, staff members are permitted to enter with a standard small bag containing a transparent container of food. 

They’re also only allowed to bring a certain amount of food and medication when reporting for duty. 

Wilson also noted that slopping still presents an imminent danger to both officers and inmates in the wake of recently installed air conditioning units. 

His concern is that these units can aid in spreading unknown diseases and possible outbreaks because of poor ventilation. 

Wilson added that the officers’ restroom in maximum security is not functional.

“Slopping is something that I met there, and it is being addressed by the government,” Murphy said. 

“Until then, we have to do what we need to do to ensure that the prison is in the best condition.

“So, that isn’t anything new for Mr. Wilson to raise. He is aware of all of the improvements that have taken place in the prison.”

Wilson also said that a number of officers have yet to receive salary arrears payments after serving 25 years, the morale of officers is at an all time low, and only 10 percent of the prison’s vehicles are operational at this time. 

Asked to respond to those concerns, Murphy maintained that all of the accusations are false. 

Wilson was unavailable for further comments up to press time.

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