At the top of our news we told you of a prison officer whose name was called as being one of the players in Monday’s unprecedented escape. In speaking with Murillo we found out today that the very same officer has abandoned his post at the prison. Here is how that portion of the interview went.
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “Coincidentally one of the officers, the name that he called of the officer for some reason the other vacated his position so he’s no longer with the prison.”
Reporter: Vacated his as in he resigned or ?
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “Well he just doesn’t show up and I can’t control that if he doesn’t want to come back to the prison. I don’t know what’s the reason behind that and I don’t want to speculate but coincidentally I think it’s about a week now that he’s not been back to the prison. I would think it’s just on the heels of the escape let’s put it that way for right now I didn’t get the precise period of time that he has left so that’s what I have for right now. It would be right on the heels either the day after or the day before the escape.”
Reporter: And no official resignation or no official notice.
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “As far as I was told no. He had some, what I was told was that he had some set back where he was in violation of one of the policies and he was challenged to write a report but more than likely he chose not to come back to prison to have to write any report. Again, you know we can’t force him.”
The absent prison officer is only one piece of the puzzle that the prison administration and the investigators are looking into. According to CEO Murillo they are conducting an internal investigation.
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “We are certainly doing our internal investigation like we have done on every other escapes in the past and we will leave no stones unturned because we certainly – I’ll you what what is so disappointing is that you know if you look at our escape history we’ve been keeping escapes down so well since 2011 if you want to be reasonable because the highest it has gone during this time was four in 2013 so that’s a good nine years we’ve been doing extremely well.”
Reporter: Have you placed anybody on leave or administrative leave until the investigation is concluded or are you still full staff?
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “Well we don’t have a policy of administrative leave so we’re investigating right now. The people who were involved are on their week off so we have an entire week to do our investigation and wrap things up without having to affect the workforce.”
Contraband items are an ongoing fight for prison administration. These items include cellular phones, drugs and small weapons. One of the allegations that surfaced this week is the supplying of drugs to prisoners by some prison guards. According to Murillo it is a struggle but the prison has managed to be extra vigilant.
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “Remember the prison is the last stop. We end up with all the societal ills and it is expected that we are going to turn them around so you must understand nobody is coming here for singing too loudly in church. And as a matter of fact this prison like every other prison in the world continues to fight drugs and I do have a couple of slides to give you an idea of how drugs used to stand in this prison. This slide that you’re seeing there that is a slide showing marijuana. If you notice from 2013 which is just the year before I took over we had our struggles it fluctuated between 2013 and 2015 but I made it my business to try and keep contraband out because once you have marijuana or drugs in the prison it is definitely besides being disrespectful to prison administration it definitely breeds violence and it breeds violence for lots of reasons because prisoners would buy these things and in some cases they don’t want to pay for it and if they don’t pay for it then that would result in violence because the dealer or the peddler wants his money and if the guy that uses it doesn’t want to pay then that could earn him a “Juk down” as they call it in prison terms of a “stab down” and these things can be fatal.
Statistics from the Belize Central Prison shows that in 2015 prison officers had confiscated just under five thousand eight hundred grams of marijuana from the prisoners. That amount has significantly reduced over years to eight hundred and eight grams in 2019.