The crumbling infrastructure that is HMP Turks and Caicos

The last time HMP was described in this like manner there was a great rebuttal from senior TCI govt officials. I’m here once again to reiterate those previous sentiments that the former Superintendent, Mr. Steve Barrett told us as a country during his departure. HMP is infact a crumbling infrastructure just as was the case when Barrett said it and worse now

The prison should be moving to a more rehabilitative approach to managing inmates, unfortunately our infrastructure is not conducive for effective and sustainable rehabilitative programs. I welcome a conversation with any one including govt official who wishes to refute my claim. We have to remember that HMP is more than 20 years old with no major renovations that has taken place at this site over this period.

The Turks and Caicos has more court rooms now than any time in its history. The police continues to be given the tools and personnel needed to do their jobs effectively and that’s absolutely great for our nation. Meanwhile when the courts are productive and the police makes arrest those persons are sent to HMP for safe keeping. However, there is no upgrades happening on the back end of the justice system so we are made to look like the weakest link. We forget sometimes that on average the police hold prisoners for a few days but the prison is expected to keep these same individuals for a few years.

It should be obvious to all of us in this country that crimes being committed against our communities are more serious than before. The murder rate is escalating which simply means more murderer are coming to prison an institution that suppose to be the most secure but in actuality is nothing more than a crumbling infrastructure and a complete shit hole.

The prison service does not have the luxury of sending rival inmates to different facilities like some of our neighboring sister countries. All our inmates are held at a single facility. The mixture of criminals from South Backsalina to Overback and from Five Cays to the Bight are held right at HMP. Is this not a combustible situation? Inmates and officers alike are fearful for their lives. Most officers come to work each day with a heart to serve our inmates but a great number of inmates see officers as their enemies. What a position to find yourself in everyday in an effort to support yourself and your family.

Our inmates are coming to us less mature and more compulsive but yet no one finds its necessary to upgrade the tools and personnel needed for prison officers to combat this new trend of prison demographic.

The prison services has seen a new low when an entire shift refuses to come to work and relieve the shift on duty……for two consecutive days. This is the indication of a work force that is fed up to the point where they have no concerns for their brother behind the gates. Our prison services has been short staff for years, but officers have to take leave which causes the working staff to be more vulnerable for lack of man power. What are we to do? Cancellation of vacation for hard working officers who just needs a break to decompress and visit families? If the prison staff doesn’t get its much needed support I’m afraid that more staff members will be inclined to skip work and leave the strain of managing the prison to a few good officers. This is not the solution but rather another developing problem at HMP.

I believe that the pressure of managing this era in HMP in a crumbling jail is affecting my health negatively both physical and mentally. I have told my inmates that one day I will walk out those gate never to return. To the many family members who over the years have contacted me to check up on incarcerated family members in private, please note that very soon you will not have the liberty of calling me to check up on loved ones. To the attorneys who I’ve developed professional relationships with for the benefit of your clients I suggest you begin to seek out other officers that can help you help your clients. I have to seriously consider moving on from the prison in an effort to save myself.

The cry from the prison, to everyone who would listen for help, has been going on for far too long. Six years, and five different Superintendents later things seems to have gotten worse as suppose to better.

God be with us all.

Clyde Green

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