An investigation is being conducted by Jamaica’s fire officials and police following a fire at the maximum security prison in Kingston that caused major damages. The blaze that went up on this past Wednesday afternoon was located at a section of the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre that houses about 18 prisoners with mental health issues. While none of the inmates at the facility, including dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, were injured from the fire, a correctional officer suffered mild smoke inhalation. The inmates who were housed in the destroyed section of the facility, the George Davis Centre, were safely relocated to another part of the prison.
Subsequently after the fire was contained, the Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Pearnel Charles Jr., highlighted that several of the island’s correctional facilities were in need of urgent infrastructural development. This included the facility affected which houses about 1,500 prisoners.
Mr. Charles told the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, “We have identified specific institutions which will be upgraded, and the budget will be allocated to do so, and the Tower Street Correctional Facility is one of them to receive priority attention for infrastructural development. The fire certainly brings up a lot of issues that we have to address. But in the meantime, the authorities here are making arrangements for the housing of the affected inmates.
He shared that another part of the prison upgrade project involved constituting an inter-ministerial committee that will be looking for alternative housing for inmates with mental health and other issues.