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Our custodial team who helped to restore prison operations in the Caribbean

Photo credit: Jonathan Falwell via AP

When two category five hurricanes, Irma and Maria, struck the Caribbean in September 2017 causing devastation across the region, Serco were contracted to deploy a team of prison custodial officers to the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) to provide support within the prison. Their help supported the local prison staff to restore order and stability. The prison, like the entire island, had been affected by the hurricanes; it had suffered structural damage, and had only intermittent electricity. Many local staff also had to contend with having their homes destroyed, which affected many people’s ability to work.

Serco staff quickly built rapport with the local prison officers and the prisoners. They helped to organise prisoner cleaning parties both within the prison, and outside to clear local beaches of hurricane debris. Serco staff also helped the local staff by working with them to improve the prison by organising painting parties; repairing electrical wiring and lighting on the wings to improve staff safety on the wings at night; and recycling / repairing bed frames, showers, toilets, cell locks, and basketball hoops. The prisoners wrote to the Superintendent to thank the Serco staff for their contribution to improving conditions within the prison. The Superintendent wrote to praise Serco’s contribution to the increased confidence with which his officers were engaging with prisoners. The TCI Human Rights Commission visited in 2018 and noted the “startling” difference to the internal environment. Serco officers further supported the prison for much of 2018 by delivering training and coaching to local staff.