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Jun 28, 2001

L.A. County Sheriffs advise on prison

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Two officers from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are in Belize advising the government on how to make Hattieville Prison operate more efficiently. Lieutenant Robert Hudson and Captain John Vander Horck have been in the country only a few days but they say that there are areas clearly in need of improvement.

John Vander Horck, Captain, L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept.

“We were out there last night till about nine o’clock looking at the operation, meeting staff, looking through the facility, interviewing inmates, looking at their policy and procedures, making recommendations as we go. It’s our intention that when we go back to California, Lt. Hudson and I will sit down with our notes and have some discussions and make some recommendations in terms of enhancing the security, the training issue and whatever we can do to help them make that a better facility.”

Robert K. Hudson, Lieutenant, L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept.

“We definitely have found some areas for training the staff we’d like to see some increased intuition on their ability to anticipate what’s needed in the jail rather than to wait for things to happen. We’ve found some very basic things in terms of the look of the facility that can be taken care of by some of the inmate work crews. We’ve also found some areas in which we feel they can be self-sustaining and run some of their own vocation and programmes in the jail. There is a possibility they could generate income and revenue for the jail itself, which could be used again, then applied to the infrastructure of the jail and for training of inmates.”

Dickie Bradley, Minister Responsible for Prisons

“In terms of the experience and their expertise, we would be able in a much smaller system in our country to certainly improve the custodial arrangements, the security, to put in place more systems, more procedures. I think we rely primarily on the ability of our personnel without having proper training, without being able to follow a regime, a routine. So in terms of putting in systems that is how we think the Los Angeles officials will be able to assist us in Belize.”

Bradley said that the Prison Department is looking into the possibility of constructing three ponds to grow tilapia which would significantly reduce the facility’s large food expense.

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