Prison History

One of the first prisons in Trinidad was located on George Street, Port of Spain.
During that period public executions were frequent and took place at the east of the Dry River on the St Joseph Road. On the 24th March 1808, a disastrous fire devoured the prison and work soon started on a new prison, it was completed in 1812. Today it is commonly called Royal Jail located on Frederick Street, Port of Spain. The Prison Service Act was set up in 1838, and revised in 1950.

The First Female Prison

In 1854, the first allocation was made to accommodate female prisoners. This prison was located at the St James Barracks. In 1886, a new division comprising of twenty-eight cells formed the second Women’s Prison located at the Royal Jail.

Nelson Island — Prison Camp
In 1937, due to labour unrest and an increase in arrests which affected prison overcrowding • Nelson Island was used as a Prison Camp. One of the first prisoners to be kept there was labour activist, Tuba! Uriah ‘Buzz’ Butler.

Youth Detention Centre

On the 5th June 1949, the Young Offenders Detention Institute was relocated from its original site at St James to a new site at Golden Grove and titled, Youth Training Centre.
Over the last century many prison facilities were erected, demolished, relocated and refurbished. One thing remained unchanged — Prisons were designed purely for custodial purpose.

Note: The above information was obtained from Prison Archives

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