Prison population drops but overcrowding remains a challenge

Although the Department of Justice and Correctional Services has seen a drop in overcrowding at correction centres, the system is still under pressure to add more beds.

Minister Ronald Lamola told a mini-plenary of the National Assembly on Thursday that overcrowding at correction facilities continues to be a challenge that requires the full attention in terms of crime deterrence by communities.

“For as long as people continue to commit crimes, we are thus left vulnerable to possible overcrowding in correctional centres,” said Lamola, adding that although there had been a reduction of 12.99% in the population of inmates over the past five years, the correctional system remained under pressure.

“The construction of additional bed space at Parys has achieved 85% completion and is scheduled to be finalised during the 2023/2024 financial year. This upgrade project will provide an additional 176-bed spaces.”

Lamola said the prisons’ officials whose houses were damaged had to be relocated elsewhere. “We are pleased to announce that the refurbishment of 42 staff houses will be finalised during the month of June 2022.”

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