Prison with a great View

The view sweeps over the horseshoe-shaped bay of St. George’s, where fishing boats lie next to yachts and the siren of a cruise ship greets you. Richmont Hill above St. George’s would be the prime location for posh villas or luxury hotels. Nowhere on the Caribbean island of Grenada has a better view. A gentle breeze wafts over the scent of cinnamon, bananas and nutmeg. But the residents cannot see the rainbow through their barred cell windows. Because almost every afternoon, a short shower cools down the fertile spice island.

In bester Lage verbüßen ca. 400 Insassen ihre Strafe im Staatsgefängnis von Grenada / © Foto: Georg Berg
In a prime location, about 400 inmates serve their sentences in Grenada’s state prison / © Photo: Georg Berg

Her Majesty’s Inn

Grenada belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations, and the head of state is the British monarch. As this was Queen Elizabeth II’s name for almost all of the island nation’s slightly more than 100,000 inhabitants throughout their lives, the world’s best located prison was euphemistically renamed with a mixture of respect and humor. The name Her Majesty’s Inn has long been adopted and will remain so, no matter how long the Caribbean island remains part of the Commonwealth.

Dresscode für Besucher in Her Majesty's Prison: Verboten sind auch Kameras und Handys / © Foto: Georg Berg
Dress code for visitors to Her Majesty’s Prison: cameras and cell phones are also prohibited / © Photo: Georg Berg

No photos may be taken from the time of entry. But on the island you learn many stories about the recent past of the establishment.

Resocialization in a state of emergency

In 2004, tropical cyclone Iwan destroyed 80 percent of all buildings on Grenada, and the prison was also uninhabitable afterwards. All inmates survived. They initially found makeshift accommodation with friends and relatives on the island. Most later volunteered to help clean up the island. The prison building was also rebuilt by the inmates themselves. Supposedly, many prisoners had the remainder of their sentences waived due to their good behavior. On the Crime & Justice Policy Institute website, King Charles III has eventually replaced his mother and statistics show the significant dip in occupancy numbers in the year of Hurricane Ivan.

Es wird Nacht am Gasthaus Ihrer Majestät auf dem Richmond Hill / © Foto: Georg Berg
Good night at Her Majesty’s Inn on Richmond Hill / © Photo: Georg Berg

The research trip was supported by the Grenada Tourism Association

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