Billions spent on upgrading prisons across Guyana in 2023

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Government has taken a serious approach to address the long-term needs of the security sector in terms of modernising correctional facilities and implementing programmes aimed at transforming the lives of inmates.

This commitment was demonstrated earlier in the year with the $5.5 billion allocation to the Guyana Prison Service for 2023.

That budgetary allocation forms part of the government’s vision of creating a safe and conducive environment for the prison service staff and inmates.

Out of the five prison locations across the country, the Lusignan, New Amsterdam and Mazaruni Prisons benefited significantly as it relates to building upgrades.

At Mazaruni, the projects encompass a diverse range of initiatives designed to enhance the infrastructure, living conditions, and overall functionality of the prison.

The construction of Mazaruni Prison Phase II, a pivotal project aimed at enhancing the correctional infrastructure, has reached 85 per cent completion with an estimated cost of over G$700 million.

Moreover, the extension of 10 living quarters dedicated to the prison officers, valued at over G$89 million and currently standing at an advanced 95 per cent completion.

The construction of the Phase II fence is currently at 95 per cent completion at a cost of over G$66 million.

Meanwhile, another $1.7 billion has been injected into enhancing the New Amsterdam Prison, which is currently undergoing massive upgrades to improve living conditions for inmates.

The multi-billion-dollar project is divided into 10 Lots with significant works commenced on Lots 2, 4, and 5.

Lot 2 involves the construction of Male and Female Living Quarters, with a budget of over $114 million.

Lot 4 is dedicated to the reconstruction of the Officer’s Sports Club, with a budget allocation of over $50 million.

Lot 5 focuses on the construction of the Reception Building, with a considerable budget of over $413 million. Lot 1 involves the construction of Senior Officers’ Living Quarters and is in the mobilisation phase, preparing for the imminent commencement of work.

Lots 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are also in the mobilisation stage.

Lot 3 involves the construction of the kitchen and a storage bond, while Lots 6, 7, 8, and 9 encompass critical aspects such as the infirmary annex, an overhead storage tank, a treatment plant, reconstruction of solitary and cell blocks, and a training facility for inmates in Lot 10— all essential for the enhancement of the prison’s infrastructure.

At Lusignan, the government has made provisions to further expand the prison facility there to ensure greater capacity.

In 2022, more than $3 Billion was spent on the Lusignan prison facility to allow upgrades and expansions which are ongoing.

Upgrades to the facility include six new state-of-the-art prisons. Three of those facilities have been completed and housed close to 1000 inmates.

The expansion project includes a vocational school where inmates will undergo training to mitigate recidivism and upscale skill sets.

Upgrades to the facility also include a female prison, living quarters for staff, an Infirmary Annex, a new headquarters building and the construction of the outer perimeter fence.