New Corrections Commissioner to be appointed soon

Dames: So far eight Bahamian applicants were shortlisted

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – In just a matter of weeks, a new commissioner will be appointed to head the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.

So far, eight Bahamian applicants have been shortlisted for the post, but interviews are still ongoing, revealed Minister of National Security Marvin Dames on Tuesday.

“We are at that phase now where interviews are [still] being conducted and hopefully from there we will have recommendations and hope to move forward with the new corrections commissioner,” said Dames while addressing reporters before yesterday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

Correctional Commissioner Patrick Wright retired early last year and was replaced by Charles Murphy, who once headed the Maximum-Security Unit.

Murphy’s appointment, however, came with much criticism from officers, who last November gave a raw and open account of the negative treatment that they allegedly endured at the correctional facility, some even claiming that they had received threats and were fearful of losing their job.

The officer’s comments came after Eyewitness News released an exclusive documentary last November, which unveiled the horrifying and less than humane conditions at the prison.

The documentary also featured the candid views of officers and inmates.

Meanwhile, Dames said in addition to appointing a new correctional commissioner, his ministry is in the process of putting in place a new executive team by the end of this first quarter.

So far, Dames confirmed that a new prison chaplain, Apostle Leon Wallace, was recently appointed. However, he refuted social media claims that Apostle Leon Wallace was being paid a hefty salary.

“The current chaplain would have served nine years and I think he was at the end of his time spent and could not move further, so Rev. Wallace was selected as the new chaplain,” Dames explained. “I would have seen some of those social media messages as well, in regards to his salary, and that is preposterous.

“There has been no change in the salary in relation to the corrections chaplain and whatever the previous chaplain was making, the new chaplain will be making as well and I think it is under $40,000 a year.”

 

Parole system

Also addressing the implementation of a parole system at the Department of Correctional services, Dames said his ministry is moving forward with their efforts to modernize the Department.

He said that he is expected to meet shortly with the Commissioner of Corrections in Canada, who is offering her assistance to the Ministry of National Security.

“So she is expected to be in town during the first week in February to pay a courtesy call and we will have an opportunity to discuss a number of issues in relation to the Corrections Department.

“Additionally, last year we had commissioned a study on the prison and its structure. That study has been completed and we hope to make that public in the next few weeks,” Dames said.