MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The Mandeville lock-up, which was closed for refurbishing late last year following an order from the Manchester Health Department, was reopened on Tuesday, police officials have said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Derrick Cochrane, who heads Police Division Area Three (Clarendon, St Elizabeth and Manchester), and chief of the Manchester Police Superintendent Lascelles Taylor said capacity on the cell block has doubled as a result of the $14-million refurbishing project.
Taylor told journalists that he expects the new cell block to comfortably accommodate more than 60 prisoners.
Cochrane said the reopening was a tremendous relief for lawmen in Manchester who have had to escort prisoners for long distances to and from court during the closure.
“For the past eight months, it has been a major logistical challenge for police personnel to be moving prisoners in and out of parish to various courts in Manchester,” Cochrane said.
The Assistant Commissioner praised Taylor and his team for showing “tremendous management and leadership” skills to ensure that prisoners, “some of them high risk”, were moved about without incident or accident.
The lock-up was ordered closed by the Manchester Health Department in November last year because of concerns relating to sanitation, ventilation and overcrowding.
The improvement works placed much emphasis on ventilation, with the roof being lifted eight feet, Cochrane said. Sanitation, lighting, and plumbing were also improved significantly, he said.
“Prisoners will be in more healthy and comfortable surroundings (because) this facility is now one of the more modern in Area Three and Jamaica,” the senior cop added.
Meanwhile, Taylor warned criminals buoyed by the return of lock-up space in Mandeville that the police would be showing “zero tolerance” to all forms of criminality.
Those carrying implements perceived as offensive weapons such as knives run the risk of being arrested unless they can demonstrate that the implements are for purposes of their trade.