Prisoners Are to Be Treated With Respect and Humaneness, Say HMP Officials

The content originally appeared on: ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 14, 2022 (SKNIS): All prisoners, regardless of their crime, are to be treated with dignity and valued as human beings, said Officials at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) in St. Kitts and Nevis, during their appearance on the Wednesday, April 13 edition of Working for You.

Principal Officer Charles Molyneaux noted that prisoners’ human rights must be respected at all times.

“Prisoners are entitled to three square meals, medication and, of course, they must be treated like human beings because that is someone’s brother, sister, mother, and father. Persons being sent to prison was the punishment. They are not to come to prison to be punished,” said Principal Officer Molyneaux. “They come there because they may have infringed on the law at some point in time and the court would have put them in prison for such time until the court sees fit. But once they come there they have to be treated like human beings. They can’t be treated any other way.”

He stated that human rights agencies work to safeguard the fundamental human rights and freedom of people who are being ill-treated.

Principal Officer Molyneaux referenced the United Nations (UN) Nelson Mandela Rules which, according to www.penalreform.org, give guidance on all aspects of prison management, from admission and classification to the prohibition of torture and limits on solitary confinement. There is guidance on healthcare, recruitment, and training of prison staff, as well as disciplinary sanctions.

“The Mandela Laws give you a perfect guide as to how prisoners should be treated. You can’t ill-treat prisoners of war, much less persons who would have committed a traffic offence or something else. You have to treat people just like… because things can change,” he said. “You may defend your family and end up on the wrong side of the law. You might have ended up in prison for whatever reason, be it remanded or convicted, and you still have to be treated in a good way,” he said.

According to www.penalreform.org, the Rules are to ‘honour the legacy of the late President of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for global human rights, equality, democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace.’  The revised Rules were adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly on December 17, 2015.

Inspector Virgil Hodge agreed that part of the reform of prisoners deals with the treatment they receive because how they are treated plays an important role in helping them to become better or it can also damage them further based on what they would have gone through.