Seized items are returned to prison officers – Commander Hicken
Deadly Prison Riot
As the Commission of Inquiry continues into the deadly Camp Street Prison fire, A Division Commander Clifton Hicken has revealed that whenever police seize certain items from inmates, they are returned to the Guyana Prison Service.
In his testimony to Commissioners on Thursday, Commander Hicken stated that police ranks would normally search for “arms and ammunition” and noted that whenever they see items such as phones and weapons, they are returned to prison officers.
These responses were obtained under cross-examination of witness by Attorney representing two inmates, Dexter Todd, who suggested to the Commander that the Police has “always found items in the prison that ought not to be there.”
“We would have found items in the prison –the prison service tells you if its authorized or not… whenever we found items like phone, improvised weapons and the rest of it, it is handed over to the prison service – that’s the SOP [Standard Operating Procedure],” Hicken testified.
It was also stated that these searches are conducted once per month but dates vary according to the contributing factors at the time. One of the mandatory searches was conducted just two days before the 3 March riots.
Hicken was further questioned as to if on a policy level, information is filtered to the police as to what should or should not be in the cell to which the Commander responded in the affirmative.
However Hicken explained that he did not brief himself on the report of the last search conducted and as such was not inclined to answer any further questions on the matter.
On 5 April the Commission heard the shocking revelation that prison wardens are the ones that sell mobile phones to prisoners. This was the testimony of Carl Brown, an inmate who is currently severing 13 years for murder. It was explained that prisoners can purchase the mobile devices for $7000 in the Camp Street Prison.
Brown told Commissioners that he has his seventh phone since being behind bars, and admitted that he would often update his Facebook account about life in prison.
Brown had also told the Commission that whenever a phone is seized, a fee is paid and the phone is returned.