By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 24, 2018 – The prison in St. Kitts and Nevis remains overcrowded in 2017.
That’s according to the United States Department of State Report on Human Rights Practices in the twin-island federation for 2017.
“The St. Kitts prison remained overcrowded and facilities austere, although the number of inmates decreased from previous years,” said the report, which was released in Washington, D.C. last Friday by Acting United States Secretary of State John Sullivan.
The report noted that the prison in St. Kitts had an intended capacity of 160 prisoners but held 215 as of August last year. No mention was made of the Prison Farm in Nevis.
“Most prisoners had beds, although some slept on blankets on the floor. In St. Kitts authorities occasionally held pre-trial detainees together with convicted prisoners,” said the report which noted that although there should be visits by independent human rights observers, there were no known visits during the year.
Since the start of 2018, there have been reports of prison officers beating inmates.
In April, an officer beat a male inmate while he was a patient at the J. N. France General Hospital.
In February, an inmate suffered a broken leg when he received the full impact of a “scattershot bullet” fired by a prison officer, a member of the Prison Enforcement Response Team who opened fire indiscriminately.
The prisoner was rushed to the Emergency Department at the Joseph N. France General Hospital where he was treated. The leg was placed in a cast.
Prison authorities have only confirmed investigations were being carried out into the incidents.