By Pfc. Terence Ewings, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsJuly 8, 2008
CONTIGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER- A new, maximum-security prison close to the Tallil Air Base is nearing completion and is already able to receive prisoners from Nasiriyah.
Nasiriyah Prison is a self-sustaining penitentiary equipped for managing, guarding and teaching legitimate trades to criminals during their prison terms.
"This prison was built to hold more criminals and for a correctional basis to evaluate the behavior of those people," said Abdaldhker Abbas, the prison's deputy warden.
He explained in the past, criminals were sent to the local city prisons near their area of arrest. Eventually, those local prisons' populations exceeded the occupancy limits.
The Nasiriyah Prison has its own medical and dining facilities, water treatment plant, armory and sewage management system. Many of the older prisons do not have those capabilities. Those correctional facilities rely on the local villages to provide those services.
Major Catherine Vergona, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division's judge advocate, said the prison was modeled from penitentiaries built in the United States.
The facility is scheduled to have technical classes where the prisoners can learn new trades so that once they are released, they can utilize their new skills, said Vergona.
With security towers, surveillance equipment and a ratio of two guards for every prisoner, the prison is setting a higher standard for maximum-security installations in the country.
"There are many cases in other prisons where prisoners escape because of a low (level) of security and a lack of communication," Abbas said. He explained that the facility's personnel could use a better communication infrastructure to help prevent escapes.
The Nasiriyah Prison is operated by Iraqi security guards and supervised by the U.S. military.
The correctional facility is ready to receive prisoners into its two completed wings. Additional construction on the Nasiriyah Prison is scheduled to be finished in 2010.