“Why don’t they use him as a positive force to help rehabilitate other inmates? Why don’t they get his assistance for good and stop making it harder for him. Out of everything comes good. The prison should be there to rehabilitate, not to break the will and spirits of them” – Ma Cure
“They are saying that the orders to move him came from the commissioner of prisons himself,” Ms. Pansita Campbell, better known as “Mama Cure,” told this reporter. Ma Cure is the mother of incarcerated singer Jah Cure whose real name is Secaturi Alcok. “Now they say I am the only one allowed to see him.”
In a swift midnight operation early last month, Jah Cure was taken from his cell, the cell was searched, and he was transferred from the Spanish Town Prison in St. Catherine to the General Penitentiary in Kingston.
Mama Cure said she was only informed that her son was moved by a friend she had asked to visit him.
Since then, Ms. Campbell said Jah Cure–whom the world has been reintroduced to from his soul searching track ‘Longing For’–has had to face the inhuman conditions of the General Penitentiary.
“They say they found a phone, a DVD player and some other things in his cell [at Spanish Town Prison],” Ma Cure explained. She said Jah Cure was given an additional thirty days along with the transfer to GP. Jah Cure now shares a cell with three other inmates.
According to Ms. Campbell, prison officials told her son that they don’t know Jah Cure, they know Secaturi Alcok, emphasizing that the latter is in prison for a crime, and that he doesn’t deserve any treatment different from the other inmates.
Ma Cure visited Jah Cure for the first time at the General Penitentiary a few weeks ago. She said it was the first time in the six years visiting him in prison that she broke down and cried.
“When I looked at the box [the visiting booth] and see a thousand different germs looking at me I couldn’t take it. When I hear them turn back the spring water I carried and most of the non-perishable food, I broke down. I had to say to myself, the system is not there to reform these men, some of which are innocent. It is there to break them. It hurts to know that human beings are treated in this way. Bwoy, when him sey to me ‘Mama, why are they doing this to me? I don’t deserve this,’ I couldn’t take it. I just had to tell him be strong and bear your struggles,” Ma Cure explained, with eyes that seemed to have run out of tears.
Ma Cure said the prison officials turned back the natural juices, spring water and non-perishable food she brought for her son, unlike in Spanish Town where he was allowed to get them.
“Last week they turned back most of his fruits. It leaves me to wonder about his well being,” Ma Cure said with a frustrated look on her face. Frustrated because, with the assistance of her family and friends and friends of the singer, she has been doing it for six long years. Especially knowing the circumstantial evidence on which he was convicted.
Tired and growing weary because her burden got heavier last month when she lost the father of her five children, Ma Cure shook her head and said, “It is just faith.”
“Why don’t they use him as a positive force to help rehabilitate other inmates? Why don’t they get his assistance for good and stop making it harder for him. Out of everything comes good. The prison should be there to rehabilitate not to break the will and spirits of them. If I had money I would assist in getting them some toilets over there because the conditions that the prisoners are living in are worse than inhuman,” Ma Cure vented. Ms. Campbell said she has sent a letter to the superintendent of prisons asking if someone else could be allowed to assist her with the visits because she has to get medical attention.
“Because I just lost the father of my children and is me alone and I live in Montego Bay, it hard. I try to come once per week and stop over so I can visit again on Thursday. So I asked the Supe if I could get some help from family to visit him because they say is me alone can visit him. I think that his rights are being violated,” Ms. Pansita Campbell said.
According to legal advice sought by this reporter, the penal institution is acting under the law if inmates break the rules and are punished. However, denying visits along with thirty days seemed too harsh a penalty for finding a phone.
“Inmates have told me that they have lost more than ten phones and that warders carry in phones for them. And they have not been transferred,” the attorney said.
Jah Cure has generated overseas visiting interests by his recordings, especially the single ‘Jamaica,’ which has the pulling effect of ‘One Love’ to tourism. The singer has displayed the ability to be successfully reintroduced to society and perform at a level that is beneficial to himself and his family, the highest standard of reggae music, and Jamaica. Ma Cure is of the opinion that though her son is “not guilty” and way beyond the shadow of a doubt, he has done his time. In a shattered voice she asks, “Where is the human interests for justice?”
The walls cannot silence what the hearts and minds can hear.