Come on over? Tamarind Farm lock-up ‘still open despite scabies infestation’

A section of the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre (TFACC) in Salt Pond, St Catherine. (Photo: DCS.gov.jm)

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has advised that contrary to media reports, visitation has not been cancelled at the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre (TFACC) in Salt Pond, St Catherine.

In a statement on Monday (March 9), the DCS noted that the concerns around a scabies outbreak are legitimate, however, normal visiting hours remain in effect.

“DCS is reminding the public that normal visiting hours are Mondays to Saturdays from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm and on Sundays and public holidays from 9:30 am to 11:30 am and 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm,” the agency managing the island’s lock-up facilities said.

“Relatives and friends are encouraged to observe the normal protocols and procedures when visiting the facility,” the DCS added.

According to the DCS’ statement, the scabies outbreak has affected persons who are being held at the Tamarind Farm Detention Centre under the Public State of Emergency (SOE) in the St Catherine North Police Division.

The DCS failed to indicate whether containment facilities were in place, or if the affected inmate were being treated.

Reports on social media prompted a call for calm from the police, as visiting family members expressed their concern that inmates at the Tamarind Farm Detention Centre are suffering from a mysterious illness.

Scabies affecting human skin (Photo: MedicalXpress.com)

According to the police, the facility has been under quarantine since Saturday, March 7, due to several suspected cases of tuberculosis and scabies.

Scabies is a skin infestation caused by a mite known as the Sarcoptes scabiei. Untreated, these microscopic mites can live on your skin for months. They reproduce on the surface of your skin and then burrow into it and lay eggs. This causes an itchy, red rash to form on the skin.

Scabies is spread by prolonged skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Scabies sometimes also can be spread by contact with items such as clothing, bedding, or towels that have been used by a person with scabies, but such spread is very uncommon unless the infested person has crusted scabies.