Harsh Prison Realities in the Caribbean

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Friday, July 29, 2022
Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith

The circumstances of prisons in the Caribbean were spotlighted this past July 5 and 6 at a conference on penal reform held in St. Kitts and Nevis.  The conference was organized by IMPACT Justice, a Barbados-based program funded by the Canadian government and headed by Professor Velma Newton, a former law dean at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies.[1] The conference, which I had the honor to chair, had several aims, including to highlight access to justice and other issues within the prison sector, such as inmate treatment, physical facilities, inmate programs and services, and compliance with the Mandela Rules. Moreover, the meeting was intended to reflect on improvements needed and encourage discussions among government officials, advocates, and experts about reform. The conference, which brought together prison sector leaders, prosecutors, academic experts, legal aid advocates, and journalists, some in person and others via zoom, highlighted some of the harsh realities of prisons in the Caribbean, a few of which are discussed below.  

[1] For a comprehensive examination of IMPACT Justice, see IMPACT Justice Project | (caribbeanimpact.org).