British prison may be built in Jamaica

2nd Oct 2003

At least two British companies are in talks with Jamaica`s government to build a prison there.

It could house Jamaicans currently behind bars in Britain.

However the two countries would need to sign a prisoner transfer agreement.

Mark Waller, spokesman at the British High Commission in Kingston, said: “The Ministry of National Security has had discussions with UK companies on proposals to operate a maximum security prison here.”

The idea has been promoted by British officials who say the large number of Jamaicans convicted on drug offences are overburdening Britain`s prison system.


Jamaica`s prison commissioner Richard Reese said the island could benefit by charging a fee to house inmates as is done in some US states.

However Donovan Nelson, a spokesman for Jamaica`s National Security Ministry, said it was unaware of any talks: “We know nothing about it. There`s no official communication about building a prison.”
Jamaicans make up the largest block of foreign inmates in Britain at around 2,800. Most are poor women, acting as so-called “drug mules”, who swallow small packets of cocaine in an effort to by-pass Customs before boarding commercial flights to London.


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