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School children visit the Belize Central Prison Print E-mail
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Thursday, 01 February 2018 00:00

On Tuesday some 20 young persons from select primary schools within the Belmopan Police Jurisdiction visited the Belize Central Prison to get a first hand view on how it is run.  At the prison the children were greeted by Vernon Bennet, head of security, whose duty is to connect visitors with staff and inmates.

Present for a morning lecture within the Prison’s conference room was Chief Executive Officer Virjilio Murillo, who told the children about life at the prison. Escapes from the prison has been kept to a minimum explained Murillo, because of the presence of tower guards. The Belize Central Prison also has a rigid and effective screening process for contraband said Murillo.

After the student lecture, CEO Murillo gave a tour of the prison to Santiago Patt, Deputy Commander of the Belmopan Police Formation. During the tour, Murillo greeted groups of prisoners at various locations within the prison yard, who were engaged in numerous productive works.

“That is one of the strategies to keep prisoners occupied, so that they are not thinking about doing foolishness, remember there is a good old saying that an idle brain is the devil’s workshop so what we try to do is to keep them very engaged so that they could learn some kind of skill and at the same time the sentence that they are serving or the time that they are on remand they do not engage in idle activities”, says Murillo.

At the prison, concrete four inch, six inch and eight inch blocks are produced. Chickens are also being mass produced but the prison is now awaiting certification from the Belize Agriculture Health Authority. Pigs are also being reared from an original stock of six that were brought in a few years ago. Each pig has indentations on their ear as a particular code to its age. Due to their prolific reproductive rates, hundreds of pigs have so far been sold.

During our tour on Tuesday we visited the furniture center where prisoners have a full set of multi-colored coffins freshly polished and at the ready. Some prisoners were engaged in making wood sculptures from mahogany and rose wood with some of their products on display at the prison gift shop.

To buy any of these products members of the public can also contact 225-6190, 225-6191, 225-6218 and 225-6229.

The Kolbe Foundation has been managing the Belize Central Prison for the last fifteen years. Kolbe has just engaged in a fourth five year contract, which commenced on August 1, 2017.

As for the children that visited the prison on Tuesday, CEO Murrillo has a lasting message for them, “I hope that they learnt something today and understand that prison is not a holiday camp, so to speak, it is rather a place for you to come and get a life corrected.”