THE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO PRISON SERVICE IS AN ARM OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND A DIVISION OF THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL SECURITY. IT CURRENTLY HAS IN ITS EMPLOY JUST OVER THREE THOUSAND OFFICERS AND CIVILIAN WORKERS, WHO PERFORM A RANGE OF TASKS RELATED TO THE FULFILLMENT OF ITS MANDATE OF HOLDING AND TREATING OF INCARCERATED PERSONS. THE PRISON SERVICE IS A UNIQUE ENTITY, IN THAT IT IS NEITHER FULLY MILITARY, NOR CIVILIAN IN ITS OPERATIONS AS IT STRADDLES BOTH SPHERES IN THE COURSE OF ITS OPERATIONS.
It has a ranking structure which is similar to the military, in that, its senior officers are considered to be in the First Division; roughly equal to that of the Commissioned Officers of the Military. The ranks which make up this division start at Assistant Superintendent of Prisons and go all the way up to Commissioner of Prisons. The Second Division officers are all the officers below this rank; roughly equal to the Other Ranks of the Military. Like the military, orders are given by senior staff and expected to be followed by junior staff.
The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service is currently headed by the Commissioner of Prisons (Ag.) Mr. Dennis Pulchan with assistance from his three Deputy Commissioners. The Commissioner is answerable to the Minister of National Security. Each of the Deputy Commissioners is responsible for overseeing one of three streams under which over thirty-five other departments and units fall, with a few exceptions.
These three streams are Administration, Operations, and Programmes. As the names suggest, Administration takes care of the Administrative functions, operations, includes security and other operational functions, while programmes department is geared specifically to design and provide programmes and industries in which offenders can participate, with a view towards rehabilitation. This three streamed approach was adopted in 2016 to meet with the challenges of a burgeoning remanded inmate population and the overall welfare of the Service’s efficiency.
Each Station is unique in terms of physical structure and geographic locations, which challenges the ability of the Prison Service to adequately treat with all issues that may arise. The Carrera Island Convict Prison was built in 1877 and still functions today, despite its increasingly dilapidated condition. The Port of Spain Prison for example is now situation in the heart of the bustling capital city. The Golden Grove Prison Complex, which includes Women’s Prison, Golden Grove Convict Prison and the Remand Prison Facility, is now surrounded by residential communities. The philosophy of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service is currently one of Restorative Justice which was introduced in 2002. The Prison Service also demonstrates its commitment to this ideal, that it has added the CORRECT priority to its strategic objectives.
Commissioner of Prisons
(Ag.) Mr. Dennis Pulchan
Mr. Dennis Pulchan has a distinguished career spanning 36 years of dedicated service to the people of Trinidad and Tobago through the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service. He is an expert in the field of Prison Security, having trained with various local and international security agencies, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
His academic accomplishments include a B.Sc. in Public Sector Management, an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Management, and a Diploma in Management Studies. A certified trainer in Gang Investigation, he also holds numerous certificates in the fields of Security Administration and Management, Supervisory Management, Commanders’ Leadership/ Management, Human Resource Management and Mediation Skills.
Mr. Pulchan’s witty personality and no-nonsense attitude have seen him through an arduous journey up the ranks of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service. He values dedication, service and excellence and has brought unique perspectives from his diverse wealth of experience and knowledge, of a wide gamut of Prison related matters.
To protect the public and aid in crime prevention
Improve educational, work and social life skills of offenders
Improve community relations
Promote law-abiding behaviour in custody and after release
To reduce crime by addressing offending behaviour