State of emergency Bon Futuro requires extra security measures

WILLEMSTAD — Minister of Justice Magali Jacoba (PAR) has proclaimed a state of emergency within the Bon Futuro prison up to and including December 31st. NEWS ARTICLE TAKEN FROM WWW.AMIGOE.COM  

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As already reported in the Amigoe last Saturday, this is in connection with the need for extra security measures.

According to Jacoba, the proclamation of the state of emergency is necessary in order to take extra measures quicker in addition to the other measures from the past months.
After having met with the trade unions and the personnel last Monday, the Minister decided to implement the extra measures. The management team of the Bon Futuro prison will supervise the process during this period.
By means of a ministerial order, the Minister has therefore proclaimed the state of emergency. This gives the prison director the possibility to take measures against prisoners using the telephones without permission, to take urine samples from prisoners and to introduce a system of first-day sickness report for the personnel.

The unlimited use of the public telephones in the prison will therefore be curbed. Jacoba spoke of an exceptional situation whereby prisoners could make unlimited use of the eighty public telephones. In the future, they will be given ten minutes per week at the most. Every prisoner receives a personal code to make a telephone call so that one can keep track of the telephone calls per prisoner. The prisoners also have to ask a prison warder for permission to make a telephone call, who then dials the requested number for the prisoner.
The control on the presence of metal and drugs will be increased as well. Everyone visiting the prison – including employees – must remove their shoes and belt. In addition, specially trained dogs from the police and customs will be deployed during these inspections.

Urgency for security department
One is also expediting the organization of a security department within the prison in connection with the departure of the personnel from the National Special Assistance Group (LBB) per September 1st. Nevertheless, the Minister made an appeal with the Judicial Departments Service in the Netherlands to keep the LBB-members up to and including 10-10-’10, offering an own Internal Assistance Team (IBT) the opportunity to get ready and take over the ring security.

The conclusion of a workshop held on June 13th was that there’s a crisis in the prison requiring a 24-hour security. The workshop was organized by a monitoring group installed by the Ministers to evaluate the situation in Bon Futuro on a daily basis.
Various measures have already been taken to make the prison a safer place. Jacoba refers to the cleaning action outside the Bon Futuro, improvement and extension to the outside wall, installing cameras at strategic locations, moving the porter’s lodge, construction of a porter’s lodge at the entrance, using a metal detector, thorough cleaning of the cells, and establishing an own IBT. Furthermore, LBB-personnel were deployed from the Netherlands for the ring security, and there’s a police criminal investigation into bringing illegal items such as drugs, weapons and mobile telephones into the prison.

Review measure

Leader of coalition party FOL, Anthony Godett finds that the Minister of Justice, Magali Jacoba, goes too far in limiting the telephone conversations to ten minutes per week. He urges Jacoba to review this measure.
In a reaction to the Minister’s decision, Godett states that in the past the prisoners had acquired the right to make more telephone calls. The regular contact with family members also fits within the prisoner’s rehabilitation process, says Godett.
Godett also points out the increased risks for the prison warders. "The prisoner who becomes frustrated because he has less contact with his family could vent this on the prison warder who receives the order to listen in on the held conversations", says the FOL-leader. Godett finds that also the prisoners should have a certain extent of privacy. He finds it unjust that all 450 prisoners have to suffer because a few prisoners are at fault. "The Minister should tackle those who are at fault. This only creates an explosive situation with all possible consequences."