The advertisement for the job of running St Helena’s prison makes it sound almost attractive.
The “chance of a lifetime” job is described as “a challenging role in an outstanding setting” – apparently not a reference to conditions in the prison itself.
There is no mention of the fact that the building has been declared unsuitable and even unsafe, or that conditions are criticised in the island’s human rights plan.
St Helena Government has allocated funding to create a new prison at Sundale, in Half Tree Hollow – but the new facility would not open for at least three years.
The £40,000-a-year job of Deputy Superintendent Gaols is advertised as a two-year contract – with the prospect of time added for good performance.
HMP Jamestown is described as “a small prison able to hold all categories of convicted and unconvicted male and female adults, young offenders, young people and police prisoners.”
One of the shortcomings identified in the human rights document is that remand prisoners, who are legally innocent, share cells with convicted inmates because the alternative is isolation.
The new deputy superintendent – who would have charge of day-to-day running of the prison, under police chief Peter Coll – is expected to train staff to “meet the demands of modern prison systems”.
That means meeting UK standards “within the limitations of the prison’s physical and financial resources” and “identifying areas of deficiency and producing action plans for improvement in these areas.”
They will also head up the island’s fledgling probation service – seen as an alternative to prison for some offenders – although experience in this area is only “desirable”.
The advertisement on the St Helena Government careers website says candidates must be highly motivated.