About 100 of the 399 inmates in Antigua’s overcrowded jail will be granted early release by next month, National Security Minister Steadroy Benjamin has announced.

The scores to be released include prisoners convicted of minor offences and first-time offenders.

“Under the Convicts License Act, a number of prisoners will be released, and under the Criminal Procedure Amendment Act and the Prison Extramural Sentencing Act, about 41 more will be released. We hope that by the middle of February at least 100 prisoners will be set free in this particular manner,” he is quoted in the Antigua Observer as saying.

“Most will be sent to the prison farm to do farming. Others will be given specific training in welding, carpentry, and plumbing, so they could become useful citizens in Antigua,” Benjamin said.

Late last month, Benjamin said the decision also forms part of the Antigua Labour Party administration’s mandate to provide judges with alternatives to sending offenders to jail, including community service and suspended sentences.

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