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Miller cautions govt on prison

  • Leslie Miller.

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 17, 2013

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Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller yesterday cautioned the government against turning Her Majesty's Prisons (HMP) into a small hotel.

Miller said the government should give "every penny" that prisoners make while incarcerated to the victims of their crimes.

He was speaking during debate on the Correctional Services Bill, which would repeal the Prison Act and transform the focus of Her Majesty’s Prisons from incarceration to rehabilitation.

Miller said while he agrees that there ought to be rehabilitation efforts, the prison is meant to be punishment for those who break the laws.

"It appears to me that Fox Hill correction center is now equal to Holiday Inn in Miami," he said. "I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that we aren't trying to get Fox Hill prison to the level of a small Atlantis Over-the-Hill.

"It is a prison. It was built for those who would have broken the law. It was built for those who would have caused grievous harm to other members of society and that is the price that one must pay."

The new bill would allow remanded inmates to be exposed to training, education or work opportunities.

The new bill would also ensure that inmates are subject to periodic drug tests and psychiatric evaluations when necessary.

But Miller said he wants to ensure that people pay the price for their crimes.

"I agree that you should try to provide them with some skills to enable them to make a contribution, but first and foremost we have an obligation to look out for those persons who were injured by those persons who are now incarcerated in our prison system,” he said.

"That to me is the fundamental issue that we should be dealing with — protect those who cannot protect themselves.

“They are waking up every morning taking showers and going to sleep. Those who they would have murdered, Mr. Speaker, can never wake up again. They go to jail for seven years and come out. You ever see a man go in the grave and walk out after severn years? Not in our lifetime."

Miller said he has little sympathy for criminals.

"If you make it too good, the [criminals] will be glad to go up there."

Miller added, “I don't see why those inmates who are in prison, who would have committed injury or serious crime and in fact many cases death [to] the persons in our country, shouldn't make restitution, full restitution for the rest of their lives to take care of those they would have harmed, with the money that they would have made in prison.”

Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn said the bill does not offer any “revolutionary” changes.

It would result in the name of the prison being changed from Her Majesty’s Prisons to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.

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