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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022


The territory's prison system is a disaster waiting to happen, and the firings last week of the two top Corrections Bureau officials were a "knee-jerk reaction," Sen. Anne Golden charged Monday.
She also charged that guards at the Golden Grove facility are being forced to work overtime and not being paid for it.
In a release issued Monday, Golden said that the abrupt firings, by acting governor Gerard Luz James II, were a "knee-jerk reaction, not a solution."
James announced on Friday that he had fired bureau director Gina Harrison and assistant director Gerald Enos.
In a Government House release, James said that he decided to take the action after reviewing problems within the Corrections Bureau, so as to "improve its operations."
However, Golden said that visiting U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Brotman, who was in the territory last week, was satisfied that Harrison was doing her best.
Brotman has been pushing the territory to improve prison conditions and upgrade staffing. Court mandates dating from 1985 ordering the V.I. government to correct prison conditions including overcrowding and poor sanitation remain unmet.
On Monday, Golden blamed the prison system inadequacies on bureaucratic red tape and delayed decision making. She said the Golden Grove guards are on the verge of striking because of forced overtime due to staff shortages. She said the guards working extra hours are not being paid overtime.
Enos reportedly tried repeatedly to tell administration officials about the rising discontent among the guards, but no one would talk to him.

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