Monday, August 21, 2006
Inmates of the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre for women have been forced to vacate the facility due to an infestation of rats. In a report submitted by the St. Catherine Health Department, the facility was condemned as unsuitable for habitation after inspectors, conducting a routine check of the institution on July 11 this year, found evidence of a rodent invasion and a massive infestation of cockroaches and flies. Fearing an outbreak of leptospirosis, the authorities called for a total abandonment for the Centre aimed at rehabilitation of women who have run contrary to Jamaican law. Commissioner of Corrections, Major Richard Reese , however, has denied the severity of the report and claims that it was exaggerated. "The allegation of a massive infestation of rats is not substantiated," Major Reese said. The Corrections Commissioner also disclosed that plans were well advanced for the construction of a new prison to be built on lands acquired in St. Catherine, which would house both male and female inmates. At the time of the inspection, there were 178 inmates and one baby being housed at the rodent infested institution.