The controversy surrounding incarcerated Dancehall superstar Vybz Kartel’s speculation for recording in prison has garnered the attention of the Jamaican Government.
State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Pearnel Charles Jr, is pushing for a clear outline of the laws in relation to inmates recording music in prison.
Charles has warned that any officer or inmate involved in unauthorized and illegal recordings in the penal system will be punished.
Charles’ warning comes after Opposition MP Lisa Hanna threw the country into debate over whether Vybz Kartel music should be played on Jamaican radio. Hanna reportedly received death threats after calling for the entertainer’s music to be banned.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Corrections has finally made a public statement.
The Commissioner of Corrections has revealed that there is no evidence to confirm that recordings are in fact taking place in prison.
However, the commissioner admits there has been an ongoing investigation to determine the validity of the speculations and says all findings will be made public.
As part of the investigation some correctional officers will have to take a lie detector test, and this the commissioner hopes will shed light on if Kartel has been receiving help to record from prison.
Pearnel Charles Jr, in a press release, noted that while music and the creative arts are important tools of rehabilitation, which are facilitated by radio stations at the Tower Street and St Catherine prisons, rehabilitation does not include illegal recordings.
“Any such activities are prohibited, and punitive action will be taken against any officer or inmate found involved and in breach of these regulations,” Charles said.
Measures which the ministry said it will implement include amendments to existing legislation, regulations and procedures to increase accountability and enforcement, the installation of X-Ray Scanning Machines at Tower Street and St Catherine Adult Correctional Centres and the Horizon Adult Remand Centre, metal detectors and new entry management protocols, polygraphing of all recruits and correctional officers, relocation of inmates and re-zoning spaces in all institutions, expanded CCTV coverage across the correctional system, and enhanced use of cellular phone jamming technology.
Last year, Vybz Kartel was removed from the Horizon Adult Remand Centre and transferred to the Tower Street Adult Correctional Facility for confinement to combat claims he had been recording behind bars.
New music from the “Worl Boss” deejay has continued to be released despite being incarcerated since 2011, and Jamaicans have long speculated about whether the artist has been recording music while imprisoned. However, Vybz Kartel and various production collaborators have denied such speculation.