While arguing for a client’s bail offer last week during a Magistrates’ Court arraignment, defence attorney Valerie Gordon said she “was reliably informed” that 36 inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison, or roughly a third of the prison population, had been infected with Covid-19.
“To place someone knowingly in a confined area where they are at risk [of catching Covid-19] is inhumane,” Ms. Gordon said during the Jan. 26 hearing.
She was appearing on behalf of Alexander Jarvis, who was charged with two counts of arson for allegedly burning two structures following a disagreement over a towel.
Magistrate Khadeen Palmer denied Mr. Jarvis’ bail request, citing his risk to society and the strength of the evidence against him, among other reasons.
Prison head mum
Prison Superintendent Guy Hill declined the Beacon’s requests to comment on the alleged outbreak, and attempts to speak to prison inmates were unsuccessful.
Visitation to the prison has been restricted intermittently since at least June, with the latest notice posted on Jan. 10.
In an interview with the Beacon last week, Governor John Rankin said he and health officials “are very concerned about the current outbreak” and are helping Mr. Hill manage the situation.
He added that the prison continues to “operate effectively” and the infirmary has remained open. Attempts this week to confirm the numbers of inmates affected were not successful as of press time.