With Guyana’s prison population standing at some 30 to 38 per cent over capacity, the upgrades will allow for some 1,000 prisoners to be accommodated in keeping with international requirements.
Prisoners will be housed in a dormitory-style setting furnished with beds and mattresses, unlike the holding bay facility.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mae Toussaint Jr. Thomas spearheaded a site visit to the facility on Monday to inspect the status of the project.
Thomas was given a walkthrough of lots one to three, which are being reconstructed to a modern facility. Works on lot two are still ongoing, while lots one and three are almost completed.
The prison will have a large building subdivided into prison cells at lots four to six. The construction of the cell blocks at lot six is ahead of schedule, while works on lots four and five are awaiting the arrival of steel cells from North America.
Upgrades to the facility will also accommodate a female prison, which will see the relocation of female prisoners from the New Amsterdam prison. Works on the building are 30 per cent complete and are also awaiting a shipment of steel cells from North America.
Additionally, works on the prison’s ‘vocational school’ is 75 per cent completed. The school will facilitate training to upskill inmates while mitigating recidivism. The structure works conjointly with the home affairs minister’s ‘fresh start’ initiative.
The permanent secretary also inspected construction works on the senior officer’s ‘living quarters.’
Ongoing projects to facilitate an infirmary annex and overhead water storage tanks and water treatment plants, which commenced in January were also examined and are almost completed.
Construction of the outer perimeter fence is 55 per cent completed and are advancing according to specifications.