St Helena’s tiny prison presents benefits as well as problems, according to new manager Martin David.
HMP Jamestown has been criticised for its inadequate facilities in a succession of inspection reports, and concerns have been raised in the island’s human rights action plan.
St Helena Government is pushing through plans to move the prison to Sundale House in Half Tree Hollow, but not before 2015.
In a statement issued by The Castle, Martin acknowledges the limited resources for all the roles he is taking on – which include helping prisoners back into the community.
“In the UK we would have access to a significant number of services to manage these,” he says.
But he adds: “The advantage of such a small scale operation, however, is time we have available for individual cases.
“What we lack in specialised resources we can compensate for by devoting time and effort to individual cases and working closely with other agencies to ensure a holistic approach to offender management
“We have recognised that the current prison is not adequate, particularly for longer term prisoners, and one of my roles is to push forward the move to better premises.
“However, I can assure the public that we are making the best use of the existing building and I was pleasantly surprised to find a very clean, well ordered and calm environment, with good staff prisoner relationships. We will continue to ensure that the prison operates properly and decently.”
Martin worked in the UK prison service for 23 years and was a deputy governor at HM Prison Coldingley in Surrey, which specialised in giving prisoners a positive work ethic.
He arrived on the island on 13 November 2012 with his wife and two children.