21 October, 2009


More Anguilla news available on Hansard.  As a result of another Parliamentary Question, Minister Chris Bryant has given us some more interesting news about Anguilla.  We learn that the Anguilla prison is presently holding nearly twice as many prisoners as it was originally built to house.  How many prisoners to a cell is that?  Is this statistic not a recipe for increasing prison violence?

Overseas Territory
Certified normal accommodation
Current population
Cayman Islands
Turks & Caicos
108, rising shortly to 150

More interesting, perhaps, is the note to the Turks and Caicos Islands figures.  How does Bryant know that the prison population is shortly to be increased by nearly 39% to a total of 150? 

And will the increase consist of politicians or merely of lawyers?

The real concern for us is that Anguilla is the only Overseas Territory in the West Indies to have its prison so over-filled.  Unless a new prison is built, I would suggest that the Magistrates should be using alternative means of sentencing to an increasing extent.  Failure to do so will risk prison rapes, the spread of HIV, and more burnings. 

In order to further reduce the risk of uncontrollable prison violence, the Governor should be actively considering releasing significant numbers of long-term, non-violent prisoners whose conduct has indicated remorse and who are not thought to represent a continuing threat to society.

PS:  24 October 2009 - Hansard has, without apology, altered the webpage linked to above to correct the footnote. It now appears attached to "Certified normal accommodation" instead of "Current population".  They could, at least, have said sorry for having originally mislead us.


  1. In addition to releasing some of our best behave prisons, there should be some merit in releasing those up there on minor 'weed' charges. Also something should be negotiated with Montserrat where 15 to 20 of our non-violent prisoners could be housed over there. Just a suggestion

  2. Don,

    I think you'll find that the available prison accommodation in TCI will shortly rise (when a new wing is completed), not the number of prisoners themselves !

  3. And do you know how much prison costs per prisoner in Anguilla ? You'd be amazed ! And where is the parole system that could supervise them after release ?

  4. The parole system is handled by the Probation Department. The staff there is overwhelmed and underbudgeted, while in my visit to the Motor Vehicle LIcensing office this morning, several of them wander around with nothing to do.

    They got a TV set for the customers, because the archaic system they use takes a long time. But did they put it in the lobby for the bored customers? No, of course not, they put it in the office for the bored staff.

  5. To Anonymous at 4:19 above, that explanation does not make sense. The statistics are designed to distinguish between the amount of prisoners the facility was designed to house and the amount actually housed. If the increase will be due to the completion of a new wing, the note would have been attached to the figure for "Certified normal accommodation", not to that of the "Current population".

  6. To Anonymous at 5.38. I beg to differ; if you'd like to contact the prison on Grand Turk (the Superintendent is Llewelyn Taylor) they will tell you that either the blogger here has his figures the wrong way round (surely not, as I can't believe anything written here would be erroneous.......) or "Hansard" recorded them wrong. A new wing is opening at the prison soon, which will provide an extra 42 places.

    I do agree with the comments on alternative sentencing, and release under supervision on parole - but will pigs fly in Anguilla ? Probably not before the elections.

  7. You only have to click on the link provided at "Parliamentary Question" on the post itself to see that it is a direct quote from Hansard.

    It is very unlikely that the Governor in TCI would have misled his Minister in the UK. His job depends on it.

    The clear inference is that the Minister is reporting that 42 persons are about to be locked up without bail.


  8. Ooops!

    I am sorry. I decided to re-check for myself.

    I discovered that the FCO has amended the information to indicate as suggested. The corrected information is that it is the available places that will be increased, not the number actually incarcerated or to be incarcerated.

    Pitty I did not take a scan of the page at the time I posted the article. I mistakenly thought linking to it would suffice for demonstrating accuracy.



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