We were alarmed to read Dr. Herbert Gayle’s recent assessment of Hattieville Central Prison. He said, “The Kolbe Foundation runs the best prison I have seen in my life.”. I think this would be a very shocking assessment to human trafficking victims who were sent to Hattieville on trumped up immigration charges.
These Hattieville survivors are our eyewitnesses to the appalling conditions in that institution. We have at least a hundred personal accounts from women, human trafficking victims who were thrown into Hattieville for one reason and one reason only. The Kolbe Foundation gets $1,080 for their 90-day stay on remand.
Dr. Gayle’s observation that Hattieville is a “celebrated prison” is possibly true. However, the celebration seems to be limited to those people who rake in money for taking people’s human rights away from them.
Dr. Gayle, I’m afraid that your research into Hattieville is at best extremely shallow and your observations are, at worst, recklessly irresponsible. What kind of a disciplined academic would involve himself in such a specious narrative? Perhaps the kind of academic who is on record regarding the “manipulative nature of women” might go to Hattieville and miss seeing a few things. This is surprising from a lecturer who claims to be an expert on crime and corruption.
The UN and Amnesty International have cited Hattieville as a monument to human rights violation. Perhaps you should apprise them of your glowing tribute to Hattieville as a model for criminal rehabilitation.
How to survive in Hattieville? Witness after witness has told us she had to sell herself to prison guards and other inmates just to stay alive.
Dr Gayle, the following are a few of the Hattieville horrors you missed on your field trip.
Once in the prison, the corruption continues. In principle, prisoners are not allowed to have money. Money can be put into an account by relatives or friends. According to the rules, Inmates are not allowed to have more than $40 a week from the account. That way they only have access to limited funds.
Guards take money for favors, inside the prison. You can pay for and buy anything if you have the money. And money flows freely inside Hattieville.
What is more, there is a prisoner hierarchy in place. Some are allowed to work and these prisoners get a commission from the less privileged. The working prisoners make the others fill out a number of forms, allowing the withdrawal of money from an account. All the accounts are under different names. If you want more than the $40-allowance, the more commission you pay, the more money you have to spend inside.
If the Hattieville records were ever checked that would answer the question of how a prisoner gets money. No one checks the records.
Most of our eyewitnesses had no money so had to sell themselves to get food or avoid beatings or rape.
So if you are a prisoner with money you can buy almost anything, including sex. Even if you are locked up 23 hours a day. How? Through the guards who also get a commission for doing prisoners’ shopping.
Also, the buildings are locked down at 7:00 every night. That is when the party starts, drugs flow, mostly pot, and each cellblock has it own distribution system. All run and managed by the guards.
Weekends are even more of a party. Guards will drive into Belize City and buy liquor or whatever prisoners with cash want for their Friday night entertainment.
Every once in a while a drug shakedown will happen. Those not paying the guards or getting along within the system end up being busted and put in the hole for 30 days.
Dr Gayle, I recommend a remedial Hattieville course for you. This time with your eyes open.