Prison Commissioner Dennis Pulchan

Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan has warned that prison officers who abuse their powers will be disciplined. Responding to claims of abuse of inmates at the Wayne Jackson Building at the Maximum Security Prison ( MSP) in Arouca, Pulchan said he had put new measures in place in the building.

“We have a request book and any inmate that makes any complaints of any form of abuse against other officers, it will be investigated thoroughly,” he said.

“I will not tolerate any officers abusing inmates. Even though they are inmates, they have rights and I respect that and I will go on record and say if an officer abuses his powers, trust me, we are going to discipline that officer.”

Earlier this week, inmates claimed they were beaten, shot at with rubber bullets and had a grenade thrown at them which exploded.

Pulchan said during a recent search of the facility “some level of force was used.”

He explained, “What we used was not a grenade but it is non-lethal. It is designed to move people. It has a little gas in it and has some rubber balls in it, not to damage the skin. That is what was used.

“We had no choice but to use force to put them inside and it was non-lethal force. We did use tear gas to dissipate their riotous behaviour but all process was followed to the letter.”

He said prison authorities are trying their best with limited resources to meet the needs of the inmates.

“They are getting their meals on time, they are getting their airing and all that they are entitled to they are getting,” he said.

Responding to allegations that inmates from other prisons had been transferred to the Wayne Jackson Building, Pulchan said that was done to get more control of the population.

“This is a prison and behaviour has to be controlled as you cannot do what you want in a prison,” he said.

He denied claims that inmates were forced to use toilet water to drink and shower.

“I have 1,000 gallon tanks connected to that building providing water for showers, water for drinking,” he said.