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Public visits resume at Dodds Prison


Jonteau Coppin

Public visits resume at Dodds Prison
Dodds Prisons (FILE)

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Relatives, friends and attorneys-at-law will once again be able to make their appointments and visit inmates in Dodds Prison with immediate effect.

That announcement was made by Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams on Monday in a press conference at The Ministry’s Wildey, St Michael headquarters.

Abrahams stated that it was a difficult decision to stop visitation rights to the prison but it was forced upon them due to the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic.

“We have a responsibility to protect them (the prisoners) because they are not capable of protecting themselves. Their safety and wellbeing falls upon the hierarchy of the prison and the Ministry of Home Affairs. We did not make the decision lightly to close down the prison and we also did not make the decision lightly to reopen the prison.”

Public visits resume at Dodds Prison
Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams. (FILE)

He continued: “This is Christmas and inmates have been unable to see their family in person, unable to have interaction with their attorneys in person at the prison since we shut it down. While we want to dot our Is and cross all our Ts; there comes a time where you have to draw a line in the sand. Based on the protocols that have been strictly implemented at the prison, I believe if something were to happen, we could quickly bring it under control, and therefore there was no need to wait until next year.”

The Ministry of Health and Wellness gave clearance for this move after Acting Superintendent DeCarlo Payne and his team put together a list of protocols to be approved.

Dodds Prison was closed to outside people from December 30, 2020. There was an outbreak of COVID-19, with the majority of inmates and staff contracting the viral illness.

Payne stated that the prison would be utilising a hybrid system to incorporate those who want to visit inmates in person or on the online platform Zoom.

The protocols for visitation are as follows:

  1. Visitation time has been increased from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
  2. Visitors will have to wear masks upon entry into the prison.
  3. No more than seven people will be allowed through the gate lock at a time.
  4. At the completion of visitation to the prison, there will be a 30-minute sanitisation process.
  5. The days for face-to-face visits are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  6. The days for virtual visits are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  7. Counsellors and attorneys-at-law will visit on an unrestricted appointment basis.
  8. Inmates from different buildings will not be allowed to mix. (JC)