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Dec 10, 1999

Prison superintendent says drugs biggest social problem

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While many people prefer to turn a blind eye, the new Superintendent of Prisons Jennifer Lovell says Belizeans need to recognize that the biggest problems facing this country are drug dealing and using. She says the Hattieville Prison is receiving the fallout from substance abuse and addiction and that our young people are falling victim to the promise of easy money. Lovell and Director of Programs Wayne Moody were Dickie Bradley’s guests on “One on One” on Thursday night. The super says overcrowding is a serious issue and that the majority of prisoners are not hardened criminals. Of the one thousand and fifty four inmates currently at the Hattieville facility almost half are there for minor offenses, serving three months to a year. It is a problem she says must be addressed and simply incarcerating people is not enough.

Jennifer Lovell, Superintendent of Prisons

“That is the single largest problem we have in this country: is the drug users and the ones that prey upon them by selling drugs to them. We’re getting them younger and younger on crack. And I keep repeating this, once they use crack, they keep chasing that high. They will steal from their parents; they would do anything to try and get the same high. Until we address that we will continue to have an escalating population.”

Q: “Who is to address that, the jail or the social services?”

Jennifer Lovell

“That will have to be addressed by the government.”

Overcrowding at Hattieville continues to pose a problem. At times she says there are as many as ten inmates in cells designed to hold two. There are thirty women at Hattieville, more than half are serving immigration offenses.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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