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Sep 30, 2022

Kolbe C.E.O Says Not Any Justice of the Peace Can Inspect the Prison

Chief Magistrate, Sharon Fraser explained that since magistrates are responsible for sending people to the Central Prison, they have a duty to ensure that the inmates are being held in a humane environment. Meanwhile, C.E.O. Virgilio Murillo of Kolbe Foundation, which manages the prison facility, told the media that the program should complement what the prison does to rehabilitate inmates. He said the prison already has oversight mechanisms in place, such as the office of the Comptroller of Prisons, that take concerns and complaints of inmates.


Virgilio Murillo

Virgilio Murillo, C.E.O., Kolbe Foundation

“We do have four government representatives as per the contract between the Government and Belize and Kolbe Foundation that is called the Board of Management. They are all C.E.O’s and one person that is a bit different from them is the Chief Magistrate, but we do have those government representatives who sit at board meetings when the Kolbe Foundation Board of Directors is meeting to be there to hear what is being discussed, in terms of reports and issues and those kinds of things. It is not any JP or any person with a JP title that can walk into the prison and say “I’m a JP. I want to come and inspect your prison or I want to come and listen to prisoners.” That is not how it works. The person has got to be appointed. The JP has got to be appointed by the Minister and the Governor-General of Belize.”


Sharon Fraser

Sharon Fraser, Chief Magistrate

“I believe that it’s also our responsibility to come and see the conditions under which persons come to the prison. I have long believe that, in fact, we should be coming here on a regular basis. Unfortunately, because of the level of work we have, it’s kind of difficult but now with the visiting justices and the program being put in place, at the very least there is a magistrate who will be on every visit, every session that the visiting justices will be here. Yesterday, for example, I was told by a female prisoner that she was being dealt with by a male prisoner. I don’t think that that should be the position. It means that she would have had an opportunity to speak to the visiting justices on the spot at the time and that matter could have been addressed right away.”

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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