source: file photo

Eleven convicts who were serving time for various “minor” offences at Her Majesty’s Prison will be freed today, Minister Responsible for Public Safety Stedroy “Cutie” Benjamin has confirmed.

The eleven comprises one woman, Wendy Tavanier and 10 men, Cedric Merchant, Stephen Erskine, Glenroy Pilgrim, John Planter, Ricardo Mills, Daniel Joseph, Robert Goldson, Jermaine Morrisey, Kareem Watts and Philmore Otto.

The passage in parliament of the Criminal Procedure Amendment Act 2014, in November, paved the way for convicts to be released.

Under the Act, those with convictions dating back to 2003 and onward, would have the time spent on remand awaiting committal, trial and/or sentencing, discounted from the jail sentence imposed by the court.

Those being released today were serving time for offences ranging from larceny to possession of cannabis and use of threatening language.

Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin said the move is in a bid to reduce overcrowding at the country’s lone penal institution “and to make certain that people are not kept incarcerated unnecessarily.”

He also told OBSERVER media that release of prisoners mean that “persons who have demonstrated that they can return to society and make a positive contribution, can be given a second chance so to do.”

The decision was made by Superintendent of the Prison Albert Wade in conjunction with Governor General Sir Rodney Williams and only applies to individuals serving less than eighteen months.
The convicts had time left on their sentences ranging from three months to as little as three days.

As of April 2014, the prison population stood at 361. The structure was built to accommodate 150 people.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)