The Guyana Prison Service’s (GPS) new headquarters at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, is expected to be completed on schedule, as the works have already commenced.
This is according to Director of Prisons (ag), Nicklon Elliot, who noted that works commenced since October 2022.
During an interview with this newspaper, Elliot said that the contract was awarded in September 2022 and the project is estimated to take 20 months to complete.
He added that numerous heads of departments and sub departments, a medical department, conference rooms, a directorate, a command centre, lunch rooms, and more will be included in the new building.
Earlier this year, a total of $5.5 billion was approved for the GPS to improve facilities and training for inmates to ensure their proper reintegration into society as productive people while curbing recidivism.
Some of the capital expenses for the GPS this year include the ongoing upgrades to the Mazaruni, New Amsterdam and Lusignan prisons which amount to $2.1 billion and $15 million for the purchase of vehicles. Additionally, $175 million has been set aside for the provision of furniture, tools and equipment.
Recently, some 689 prisoners were relocated from the Holding Bay to three spanking new state-of-the-art correctional facilities at the Lusignan Prison and were expected to benefit from a trade shop which will be established in the area where they were previously housed.
In an effort to provide a more congenial environment for human habitation, the GPS decided to build six structures in the prison compound. Three have been completed, while the remaining three are presently being constructed.
The GPS is not only providing inmates with more sustainable housing, but also vocational training in order to adequately rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders into society.
According to Elliot, the Holding Bay facility will be transformed into a trade shop. Prisoners will be exposed to programmes such as auto mechanics, joinery, tailoring, and carpentry.
In terms of security, extra precautions will be taken at these new facilities to prevent incidents such as the 2017 Camp Street Prison fire. These new structures have a fire-suppression system and smoke detectors, among other features.