Twenty-two prisoners who were remanded to the Georgetown Prison in Guyana were granted bail on Monday as a means of easing the congestion in the penal system.

The prisoners who were behind bars for minor non-violent offences were offered bail as six magistrates held special bail hearings at the Lusignan Prison where hundreds of prisoners were taken following Sunday’s devastating fire and prison break at the Georgetown prison.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told reporters that other major decisions will include the relocation of over 1 000 prisoners from the Lusignan facility.

He said the prisoners have been in open spaces even as efforts are afoot to make them comfortable until they can be transferred to the Timerhi, New Amsterdam or Mazaruni prisons.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old man who was reportedly kidnapped by four of the prison escapees on Sunday afternoon and forced to drive them away from the prison, has been found alive and safe.

According to police reports, Matthew Shivtahal was found late Monday by investigators. He was questioned by police then taken for medical checks at a city hospital. He had no serious injuries according to relatives.

On Sunday, a major fire engulfed the prison during a jail break. Security officials reported that four prisoners who are on the run, are believed to be armed and dangerous.

The prison was built to accommodate just over 600 inmates but for several years, it has found itself overcrowded by more than 400 inmates.

At the time of Sunday’s jailbreak and fire, there were 1 018 prisoners at the facility.

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