The Allegedly Harsh Conditions Of The Bahamas' Fox Hill Prison

The following article includes descriptions of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

The Bahamas are known for being a beautiful paradise. However, a beloved vacation spot for some is quite literally a prison for others. The prison system in the Bahamas has a lengthy history dating back to the 1600s in Nassau (per the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services). Multiple buildings and locations have been utilized over the years to house prisoners before. Ultimately, the correctional facility in Fox Hill was established. This modern-day prison contains a maximum, medium, and minimal correctional facility, a female correctional facility, and a central intake facility, among others.

In 2022, the Fox Hill Prison became home to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, after he was arrested and detained for multiple charges, including money laundering and campaign finance violations. According to a CNBC article, a Bahamian judge ruled to hold Bankman-Fried in the facility at least until his hearing in February 2023. Bankman-Fried is being kept in the medical unit until a suitable placement can be determined for him (per Reuters). However, regardless of where one person is staying, the alleged poor living conditions of the prison have been brought to the public's attention.

There are disturbing reports of poor living conditions in the prison

A 2021 Country Report on Human Rights Practices via the U.S. Department of State was conducted on the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services and details reports of abuse and poor living conditions inside the facility. While there are no reported cases involving the arbitrary deprivation of life, political killings, or disappearances, there are reports of cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners.

Notably, a prisoner was hospitalized after being brutalized by a correctional officer, and there are four cases of reported physical abuse. There have also been several rape investigations resulting in the discharge of the involved officers (per U.S. Department of State). The prison's living conditions were also reported as abysmal, with overcrowding, poor medical care, inadequate nutrition, and unsanitary living quarters. According to Reuters, prisoners often deal with a lack of proper toilets and rodent infestations.

The Bahamian Commissioner of Correctional Services, Doan Cleare, said in a statement that renovations to the prison are alleviating the known issues. "The facilities, most of them, have been renovated. We have one more to go, and we don't have any issues with rodents," it read (via Reuters).

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

The prison is reportedly under renovation and being improved

The U.S. Department of State report on human rights practices described the 6-by-10-foot maximum security cells housing up to six people at a time with no toilets or proper mattresses to sleep on. In addition, rats, maggots, and other pests made their homes in the correctional facility, posing a health risk to everyone in the vicinity. While Doan Cleare assures that the prison's overall condition is improving and that pests are no longer an issue, the reports on Fox Hill's living conditions and treatment of prisoners are disturbing (per Reuters).

Fallen FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested only nine months after initially moving to the Bahamas. Since his arrest, his lawyers requested a $250,000 bail and an ankle monitor so that Bankman-Fried could return to his home and avoid the prison stay, according to CNBC. This request was ultimately denied, and Bankman-Fried remains in the medical unit, which the Bahamian Commissioner of Correctional Services said can hold up to five people (per Reuters).