Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 22nd 2016 Contents A13
Thursday, September 22, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Former death row
Henry, who has now
turned her live around
to help female prison-
ers said she was sad-
dened over the plight
of the inmates at the
Women s Prison, Gold-
en Grove, Arouca.
Henry said she was
forced to come to visit
the facility after reading the heart-breaking
She spoke to the T&T Guardian outside
the jail on Tuesday.
She founded the Woman Thou Art
Loosed Foundation (Luke 13:12) follow-
ing her release in 1998.
"I started the foundation five years
ago to help women who are incarcer-
ated. I run courses in the female prison
and help them to get work after they
get out," she said.
Confirming the conditions described
by the inmates, Henry added,"I was
there and it is true, these things going
on for a long time.
"Most women commit crimes to help
their family or to protect them. They go
out and make fares and do certain things
that nobody else doing to take care of their
children and make sure they eat and go to
"You think some of these women want to
be doing that?" she asked.
Heartbroken over the situation, Henry argued
that the long time spent at the remand facility
as a result of the delays in the prisoners matters
could be viewed as a "double punishment."
"We already on punishment as we await trial
and then we have to go before the court to get
further sentencing, so what is that? Twice
we being punished, sometimes for small
Asked to elaborate, Henry said: "I know
it is wrong to say it but the prisons author-
ities have a mandate to help us go forward
but they don t. It have those who fall victim
and who don t want to get into it but some-
times you have no choice."
Henry said the Maximum Security Prison
where male prisoners were kept was more
She said a similar project needed to be
introduced at the Women s Prison in order
to restore the dignity and respect of female
Meanwhile, the Women s Institute for Alter-
native Development (WINAD) is calling on
the authorities responsible for the prisons sys-
tem to inform the public as to whether or not
the claims allegedly emanating from prisoners
In a release, the group said: "The situation
seems to have worsened overnight with appeals
from the women to be rescued from the harsh
and oppressive treatment being unleashed by
the prisons authorities.
"It is unacceptable that this situation has
been allowed to continue for more than 48
hours without any statement from the author-
ities, neither the prisons administration nor
the Ministry of National Security. The Minister
of National Security owes the population an
explanation, now." ---ALP
Less than 24 hours
after inmates at the
Women s Prison,
appealed for relief
from the inhumane
conditions and harsh
treatment meted out
to them by prison
officials, the inspector
of prisons, Daniel Khan, paid a surprise visit
to the facility.
Sources said the decision to visit the jail
after midday on Tuesday, followed media
reports of protest action by remand prison-
ers.Prison sources said the protest action involved
mainly foreign prisoners from Venezuela,
Colombia and Dominican Republic, some of
whom have been arrested for prostitution and
Contacted around 6 pm on Tuesday, Khan
declined to give details of his visit, only to say
he was confident a resolution would be arrived
at soon. Khan said he spoke to both inmates
and prisons officers during his attempt to
On Sunday, female prisoners barricaded
themselves in their cells as they protested the
unsanitary conditions and slow pace of justice
at the jail.
Among their complaints were issues of
over-crowding, rodent infestation, a lack of
proper toilet facilities and the conditions
relating to family visits.
Prison officials claimed the inmates
were agitated after security searches
were carried out to confiscate contraband
items, mainly cellphones.
On Monday, prisons officers reportedly had
to force open the doors of the cells occupied
by the protesting prisoners and allegedly took
30 inmates to the area known as the condemned
section, where they were bound using tie-straps
and made to lie on the concrete floor.
The inmates claimed that the punishment
included the removal of mattresses as well as
no food and water.
The prisoners fashioned ropes by using bed
linen and clothes to tie the doors shut, while
prison officials claimed soap was used to block
No medical help
On Monday, a female prisoner, who had
access to a cellphone and spoke with radio and
newspaper outlets, said prisoners had spent
Monday night in the condemned section.
"The officers are taking us one by one and
forcing us to clean our cells. They throw away
all our toiletries, including soap and toilet paper.
They wet our clothes and last night (Monday)
they beat us with batons and one inmate foot
is swelling up. She can t walk properly now,"
the inmate said.
Asked if medical attention had been provided
for the injured inmates, she responded: "They
say a PMO (Prison Medical Officer) has to
come first before they take her to hospital so
we just waiting but she is in plenty pain."
The female prisoner declined to identify the
Attempts to contact prison officials for a
comment proved futile, while all calls to Khan s
cellphone went unanswered.
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