Pubdate: Mon, 21 Aug 2006
Source: Royal Gazette, The (Bermuda)
Copyright: 2006 The Royal Gazette Ltd.
Author: Matthew Taylor
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


New prisons boss Bryan Payling is to crack down on  inmates who 
refuse to take rehabilitation programmes by  withholding privileges.

The 'get tough' programme will be phased in with visits  and access 
to cash and recreation likely to be  restricted for prisoners who 
refuse to toe the line.

The Acting Commissioner of Corrections, who took over  at the 
beginning of this month, said the majority of  privileges are now 
available to all prisoners from day  one -- regardless of whether 
they show willingness to  reform.

They include gym and sports, time out of cells, payment  of 50 cents 
a day ($1 a day for those who work),  receiving cash from the outside 
to use in the canteen,  and visiting rights. There is also the right 
to buy a  TV after two years.

Mr. Payling said: "We are looking to put together a  package which 
provides a minimum but humane level for  prisoners who don't 
participate in the regime at all --  who don't behave properly.

"There will be an intermediate level for the majority  who behave 
properly and an enhanced level for prisoners  whose conduct and 
effort to address their offending  behaviour is of particularly merit."

Privileges should be earned rather than doled out  automatically, 
said Mr. Payling.

"We are close to a final draft which will be put  forward for 
ministerial approval."

He said six managers and two members of the Prison  Officers 
Association had visited England where the  carrot and stick approach 
was successfully being used.

"My experience of prisons which operate this way is you  create an 
environment in which there's positive  encouragement to address 
offending behaviour and work  and it strengthens the positive 
relationships between  prison officers and inmates.

"It's not about making prisoners' lives easy.

"It's about where they do make the effort they can see,  just like 
the rest of us, there's some recognition --  and they don't see 
people getting something for  nothing."

However he rejected the perception that Westgate was a  holiday camp.

"I don't consider Westgate soft -- it certainly is not  soft by UK standards."

Mr. Payling hopes to expand the prisons drug testing  policy although 
he said fears that Westgate was chock  full of addicted prisoners 
were vastly over-stated.

He said random mandatory drug testing, which has been  running for 
seven months, showed about ten percent were  positive at Westgate 
while at the Prison Farm and Co-ed  Facility tests often found none 
of those tested were on  drugs.

The figure is a far cry from the entry levels showing  more than 
three quarters of convicts were on drugs when  they first arrive in prison.

Mr. Payling now wants regular testing of hard-core  users as well as 
random testing. "It might be every  week and every month."

And he wants to expand privileges for inmates who  undergo voluntary 
testing to demonstrate they are  drug-free.

Those who slip up under voluntary testing would be  given further help.

"The prisoner is saying I am trying to give up drugs  and I need 
assistance. Sometimes the prisoner needs  assistance to tell other 
people they are giving up  drugs."

He said the approach had worked in the UK where  prisoners weaning 
themselves off narcotics were  sometimes held in separate units.

"In one of my prisons we set aside a unit which held  120 prisoners. 
We very quickly filled that up with  prisoners who were subscribing 
to voluntary testing.

"By the time I left England we were having to look at  opening up 
another unit for prisoners who didn't want  to be involved in the 
drugs culture. Having a separate  unit gets them out of that temptation."

He plans to look into having a separate drug-free unit  within 
Bermuda's prison system.

The Corrections Department is now in dialogue with  Court Services 
about getting trainers from the UK to  instruct staff to deliver drug 
programmes for  short-term inmates who weren't getting the treatment 
they needed.

The prison has just one psychologist but is now trying  to recruit 
two more -- a process re-started after two  potential hires backed 
out at the last minute.

A new approach will be taken with drug-sniffer dogs  with some 
deployed to alert officers if drugs are on a  person and others to 
help root out drugs hidden in  cells. He said having dogs do both 
'passive' and  'active' functions was less efficient than having 
specialist dogs.

The service has just acquired another 'passive' dog,  making up a 
team of three.

Asked about allegations made by former Corrections  Commissioner 
Hubert Dean that around a dozen officers  were bringing in drugs Mr. 
Payling said it was  inappropriate to malign officers, most of whom 
were  doing a good job under difficult circumstances.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom