Facilities Departments & Units
This department is responsible for the sustainability of crop cultivation and livestock production. Whilst the main farm is located at the Golden Grove Prison, other stations produce their own crops which are maintained by the inmates housed there. Crops are used in the preparation of meals and at times are sold to personnel in order to generate funds. Inmates are trained in all aspects of farming and agriculture.
The Canine Unit, located at the Youth Training Rehabilitation Centre, falls under the ambit of the Emergency Response Unit. It comprises officer and dog teams trained to work together. The dogs are used for the detection of narcotics and firearms as well as open-area searches.
This section falls under the purview of a Senior Superintendent of Prisons responsible for Planning, Transport and Logistics within the service. It caters all matters pertaining to electrical, plumbing, building construction and maintenance. It consists of staff members equipped in these areas of expertise, who in turn teach these trades to inmates to aid in their rehabilitation.
Communication & Public Relations Department
Coming out of the Task Force Report (2002), a mandate was given that allowed for the development of key departments identified, in order to achieve the strategic priorities of the organization.
The Communications Department was identified as one such department and was relocated from the then Youth Training Centre to the Prisons Administration Building in 2005. Initially managed under the Penal Reform and Transformation Unit, the organizational structure of the Prison Service allowed for the Department to be answerable to the Commissioner of Prisons.
The responsibilities of the Communications Department include but are not limited to creating greater awareness about the organization through various forms of media, promoting projects geared towards fulfilling strategic priorities, and ensuring that communication functions are effectively managed and responsive to the diverse information needs of the citizenry.
Developmental Research & Training Unit
The Prison Research and Planning unit was established in 2007, as part of one of the recommendations of the Penal Task Force Reform 2002. The research unit has the responsibility for collecting and analyzing, appropriate data. This seeks to ensure that institutional decision-making is based upon facts and demonstrates the suitability of the management systems
The Discipline Section serves as the bastion of the disciplinary mechanism within the Prison Service. Guided under the regulations of the Service Commissions Department, its functions include but are not limited to drafting of charges against members of staff, presenting matters before disciplinary tribunals, and conducting investigations into infractions against discipline.
Emergency Response Unit
This unit requires the incumbent to respond to and handle emergency situations such as riots or disturbances which may arise in and around the prison compound, as well as to conduct armed patrols of the perimeter fences. They check for suspicious activities or irregularities to prevent breaches of security such as attempts to escape or encroachment onto the cultivated or unauthorized areas. Additionally, during the transferring or transportation of inmates, this highly-trained unit provides armed security detail.
Events Management Unit
One of the most sought-after services in the public sector today, the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service Hospitality Team was formed in 2001 and comprised of six officers. Their primary objective was to provide an efficient food and beverage service at various events hosted by the Prison Service. Four years later, the department created a new brand and expanded its vision and mission by transforming into the Events management Unit. With an increased team of certified and experienced professionals, the unit provides services in event and conference management, protocol and social etiquette, site preparation and development, food and beverage services, and culinary management.
The Warrants Department comprises a team of fourteen officers who are responsible for the receipt, maintenance, and storage of documents relative to all prisoners entering the penal system. Personnel assigned to this department must possess meticulous skills in description and calculation as their functions involve the computing of sentences and fines imposed on prisoners, as well as updating of court attendances and outcomes. Information in this department is updated daily, as it is imperative to ensure that prisoners are kept only as long as the warrant dictates.
The Legal Department was established out of the need to safeguard the interests of the organization. It comprises of four Attorneys-At-Law, one paralegal, and a clerk, whose daily functions revolve around all legal matters which touch and concern the Prison Service. Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to, providing advice to the Commissioner of Prisons, ensuring the legality and compliance of actions by the organization, appearing at hearings at various courts and Joint Select Committees of Parliament, drafting and reviewing contracts, engaging with various internal and external committees as it relates to new laws, and participating in balanced administrative or operational decision-making.
The Marine Department can be found situated at Hart’s Cut Bay, Chaguaramas sited alongside the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. This section consists of coxswains, deckhands, and a mechanic who are tasked with the responsibility to operate a launch used to transport personnel, inmates, workmen, tools, and materials to and from Carrera Convict Prison. Their functions include routine maintenance work on launch, checking mooring lines, and inspection of life jackets, life rings, lights, compass and anchor to ensure that they are in good working condition. They also make arrangements for the general repairs, servicing, and maintenance of the launch to ensure the seaworthiness of the vessel when required.
Health, Safety & Environment Department
The Health Safety and Environment Unit formulates, in consultation with the Prison Executive, a health and safety management system to assist in achieving the objectives of the OSH Act. The HSE Unit conducts inspections and reviews safety inspections at the workplace. Accidents and dangerous occurrences are investigated for the purpose of employing appropriate preventative measures. It promotes and communicates health safety and environmental information to employees, and identifies training needs within the organization. Recommendations are made for standards and best practices that can be employed to promote an environment that emphasizes the preservation of life, maintenance of health, safety of all persons in the prison establishments.
The Prison Welfare Department caters to the individual well-being of every inmate. They act for and on behalf of incarcerated persons who may require any sort of assistance. Historically called Aftercare Officers, it was in 1965 that they were renamed Prison Welfare Officers. Headed by a Chief Welfare Officer with over 50 qualified members of staff under his remit, the roles of the Welfare Department have evolved over the years as the Prison Service adopted a restorative approach to prisons. Primarily, Welfare Officers serve as the link between inmates and their families, businesses, embassies, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and any clinical or psychological services that they may require. Other functions include but are not limited to creating and maintaining records and case histories of inmates, counseling inmates who may experience difficulties in adjusting to prison life, arranging visits for children of inmates, arranging employment, accommodation, public assistance, and other services.
Offender Management & Parole department
The Offender Management and Parole Department was officially established in 2015, and is overseen by an Assistant Commissioner of Prisons. It serves to provide a comprehensive and accurate review of offenders’ progress at the institution, through records, critical to their custodial management plan and subsequent release into society. With a parole system yet to be adopted, the department focuses on the overall management and upkeep of offenders’ records. It is responsible for both remanded and convicted offenders and has recently advanced with the implementation of a digital program aptly named the Inmate Management System.
Pay, Quarter-mastering & Finance Department
This department is headed by an Assistant Superintendent of Prisons who oversees the Procurement, Accounts, and Store-Room sections. Although listed separately, these sections are all linked and work hand in hand. He is ably assisted by Prisons Supervisors at each section, each with their own responsibilities. These sections, respectively, are responsible for the acquisition of goods, and services involving the use of public money, preparing monthly payroll and other accounting services, and management and distribution of all tangible goods inclusive of foodstuff, uniforms and other items.
Based at the Port of Spain Prison since its inception in 1958, the photography department has always played an important role in prisons. It has catered to a variety of functions which originally consisted of photography and archiving with the use of film. Subjects included photographs of inmates for identification and record-keeping, events, buildings, and crime scenes (as deemed necessary).
As the needs of the organization evolved, and with technological advances, so did the operations of the Department. With the introduction of both the Communications and Events Management departments within the organization, the room was available for sole concentration for the establishment of a detailed and archived prisoner identification database. The department was digitized in 2005 and currently also operates out of the Maximum Security Prison.
Information, Communication & Technology Unit
Evolving from an organizational need to automate the existing manual systems, it was mandated that all agencies under the umbrella of the Ministry of National Security create their own Information Technology Department, with an aim of improving productivity and efficiency within the entire ministry. The IT Department, which is now called the I.C.T Unit has three major areas of focus, which include governance of the company’s technological systems, maintenance of the infrastructure, and functionality of the systems overall. Beyond that, professionals within the ICT Unit work internally on computer software and hardware in many ways that allows for business continuity in alignment with the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service’s vision, mission and strategic objective.
Prison Service Band
The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service Band is the only Prison/Correctional Officers’ Band in the entire Commonwealth and Western Hemisphere. With just eight members, it began as a workshop band in 1978. Two years later, it was commissioned as a full unit by the then Commissioner of Prisons, Mr. Randolph T. Charles. In 1986, the Band, which by then comprised of thirty members, escorted the first-time contingent of marchers representing the Prison Service on the Independence Day Parade route. This marked the beginning of a recognized, admirable, and successful career of the Band. One of the most notable moments in the Band’s history, was in 1988 when its ten-year anniversary was celebrated with an English Tour to the Royal Festival in Birmingham, under the invitation of Her Majesty Prisons, Birmingham and London. They performed for Princess Anne and The Royal Family, where she presented them with a commendation. Today, the Band boasts a membership of fifty diverse and talented musicians. Over the years they have both represented and obtained recognition for the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service at numerous events, locally, regionally, and internationally.
Prisons Sport Club
The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service, Recreational Sports & Cultural Club is designed to provide Prisons Officers and their families with the opportunity to interact, socialize, and recreate within a safe and relaxed environment. It also plays a key role in the community outreach and relations aspect of the Prison Service’s strategic objectives, as many social and sporting events hosted by public and private organizations are held at the Sports Club located in Arouca. It was refitted with structural upgrades and was officially recommissioned on Friday 17th May 2019, by the then Commissioner of Prisons, Mr. Gerard Wilson. The existence of the Sports and Cultural club celebrates the many sporting and cultural contributions Prisons Officers have made and continue to make on the local, national, regional, and international level.
Programmes & Industry Department
The Programmes and Industry Department sits at the core of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service’s mission and mandate as it deals specifically with the internal opportunities provided to offenders to aid in reformation. This department manages developmental interventions and efficiently provides services that target the criminogenic needs of offenders. It involves, generally, academic studies, technical and vocational training, religious intercession, sporting activities, pre-release, and life-skills training programmes. Over time, a model for proper coordination and management as a group of related projects was developed and the functions of the department have expanded. With over one hundred Officers assigned, this department has strong roots in the Restorative Justice Policy of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service.
Prisons Main Stores
Located at Golden Grove, Arouca, this unit is piloted by a Prison Supervisor who supervises a team of Thirteen (13) Officers; One (1) Prison Officer II and Twelve (12) Prison Officer I. The officers of this unit are tasked with the routine responsibility of the receipt, distribution, storage and recording of supplies for the Prison Service. Functions include to complete requisitions for supplies required by the various sections of the Prison Service, request quotations from suppliers, collects/receives goods from suppliers and checks relevant documents to ensure that computations
are accurate, quantities ordered have been supplied and the quality of goods meet required standard, issues supplies, including uniforms and food rations, to officers/sections as directed by senior officers, checks and arrange items in the storeroom to determine the condition, level and shelf life of stock, prepares monthly reports and submits report to supervisor on the usage of invoice order books, outstanding accounts and on items received, issued and in stock and also guarding and securing inmates to prevent breaches of security when required.
Prison Mediation & Conflict Management Unit
The Mediation and Conflict Management Unit was launched on March 16, 2017, and is overseen by an Assistant Commissioner of Prisons. It was implemented as an alternative method to effectively resolve conflict, solve problems, and contribute towards restoring and building stronger relationships and positive outcomes. Mediation is available for staff work-related complaints, disputes between inmates and staff, as well as victim-offender mediation.
Staff Chaplaincy Unit
The Chaplaincy Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service was established in September of 2018 and is overseen by an Assistant Commissioner of Prisons. Suitably qualified Officers were appointed in the capacity of Staff Chaplains to aid fellow officers in their coping abilities, due to the stress and major risks they undergo in the line of duty on a daily basis. The Chaplaincy Unit offers support in the form of visitations during stressful life situations, trauma, prolonged sick leave, hospitalization, or death.
Additionally, the unit provides support to the Psychology, Human Resource, and Infirmary Department where emotional and psychological stress can be monitored and treated.