Den­ham Town po­lice cold, cal­lous

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -


ON WED­NES­DAY, per­sons turned up at the Den­ham Town Po­lice Sta­tion with food and toi­letries for their loved ones in­car­cer­ated at that fa­cil­ity. This is when they were told – quite dis­mis­sively – that noth­ing would be taken from them that day.

To the ca­sual ob­server, this might ap­pear to be a mi­nor in­con­ve­nience. For many of the per­sons in­volved, it’s not just in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing, but ex­tremely costly.

Many of the in­car­cer­ated per­sons were the sole bread­win­ners – not just for their chil­dren – but for sib­lings and par­ents. In­car­cer­a­tion left these per­sons with a mul­ti­tude of chal­lenges, in­clud­ing hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tional, fi­nan­cial and men­tal health prob­lems.

Pre­par­ing for this visit re­quires days of beg­ging and bor­row­ing. For as far back as I can re­mem­ber, when­ever there is dis­plea­sure with even one in­mate, the oth­ers are made to suf­fer. De­nial of food is just one way of in­flict­ing unau­tho­rised pun­ish­ment. This is against the back­ground that con­di­tions in our pris­ons are gen­er­ally not fit for hu­mans. Very lit­tle is pro­vided.

An as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice tried to ex­plain, claim­ing that the pris­on­ers were to be moved that day and he feared that se­cu­rity would be com­pro­mised. This Anancy story can be safely ig­nored. Why, may I ask, was it nec­es­sary to carry out that op­er­a­tion on a vis­i­tors’ day? I would imag­ine that the ba­sics of schedul­ing and or­gan­i­sa­tion would be taught long be­fore one be­comes a su­per­in­ten­dent.


Ig­nor­ing crit­i­cal needs of our in­car­cer­ated broth­ers and sis­ters and treat­ing their loved ones in this way re­veals the con­tempt we have for each other. This con­tempt has a lot to do with the self-ha­tred that ex­ists among us.

Would it re­quire some spe­cial train­ing to teach se­nior po­lice per­son­nel that per­sons vis­it­ing these fa­cil­i­ties with crit­i­cal sup­plies and food be given spe­cial pri­or­ity and that they be no­ti­fied through pub­lic me­dia, well in ad­vance, when spe­cial cir­cum­stances make it im­pos­si­ble for them to be ac­com­mo­dated on a par­tic­u­lar day?

Good Lord! The be­hav­iour of the Den­ham Town po­lice, in this mat­ter, is cold, cal­lous, cruel and just down­right shame­ful. GLENN TUCKER glen­ Stony Hill, St An­drew

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