– prisoners complain of being attacked, robbed behind barsOf recent, pictures and videos of prisoners drinking high-priced liquor have dominated social media. But other prisoners have reported that the local prison environment is actually a dangerous one. Their complaints have been documented in a recent report.According to the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) prison survey, completed and handed over recently, prison was overwhelmingly perceived as an unsafe environment by the inmates, who complained of being subjected to theft and violence behind prison walls.“Prison was perceived as an unsafe place by the inmates,” the report states. “Nine out of ten inmates reported feeling less safe in prison than at their home or the place where they had lived before. Six out of ten inmates said that someone has stolen their personal belongings in the prison. A quarter of the prisoners said that, in the previous six months, they had been attacked or beaten.”Similarly, the survey found that eight out of ten inmates reported witnessing another inmate being beaten. Additionally, results showed that inmates’ participation in different kinds of activities in prison was very low.“Only 21.9 per cent of the inmates participated in entertainment activities, and 28.2 per cent participated in educational activities. To a greater degree, 48.7 per cent participated in sports activities, half of the inmates, 52.3 per cent, participated in the cleaning or maintenance of the prison, and just 47.9 per cent performed some kind of work inside the prison”, the report detailed.Positive indicatorsBut while prison was reported to be physically violent, the report did find some positives within the prison system regarding sexual violence. For instance, the inmates themselves affirmed that there are no major violations to their sexual rights behind bars… a prevalent perception surrounding prisons.Nine out of ten inmates said that, since being arrested, they had not witnessed another inmate being forced to have sexual intercourse with another person,” the report stated. “Almost all prisoners said they had not been forced to have sexual intercourse against their will since they were arrested.”Besides their right not to be raped, the report also found that the majority of prisoners are afforded the chance to maintain their personal hygiene, and have access to hygienic facilities such as toilets.According to the report, 75.1 per cent of prisoners said they had the opportunity to have a shower between eight and fourteen times per week. In a similar vein, the majority of inmates, 71.4 per cent, believed that the toilets they used were “clean” or “very clean”.“Along these lines, seven out of ten inmates, 71.3 per cent, said they had enough water to drink, although half of the respondents, 50.8 per cent, rated the water they received as “poor” or “very poor”.A renewed focus on Guyana’s prison system was brought to bear after pictures and a video of partying prisoners had recently come to light. The video had showed some of the same prisoners featured in photos shared on social media not only drinking alcoholic beverages, but smoking marijuana and counting a significant amount of cash.In one clip, which has since gone viral on social media, a prisoner was filmed counting at least 12 single $5000 bills as he placed them on a plate that was filled with what appeared to be cannabis and other prohibited substances.Another clip showed the prisoners boasting about the “sweet life” they are enjoying, despite many of these very men awaiting trial for grave breaches of the law, including rape, murder, robbery under arms, simply larceny and gun-related offences.While this in itself is disturbing, there are those who see the lack of control in the prisons in the context of the 2016 fire that resulted in the deaths of over a dozen prisoners… as well as last year’s jail break and fire that gutted most of the Camp Street prison… and they have called for heads to roll.Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, has since committed to ensuring technology such as scanners are introduced in the prisons. Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, had noted that while collusion is likely, the prisons are presently rooting out corrupt officers.