62 Correctional Officers Awarded National Medal of Honour


A total of 62 men and women from the Department of Correctional Services were on Wednesday (June 15) presented with the National Medal of Honour for long service and good conduct, at a special ceremony held in their honour at the Alhambra Inn in Kingston.
Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe, in congratulating the recipients, charged them to concentrate on rehabilitating the inmates in their charge, as they continued to play a very integral role in the fight against crime. “When we have caught the offenders and we have decided that they are to be incarcerated, you are the persons who are entrusted with the responsibility of rehabilitation, which is a very important role in our society,” he told them.
He noted that while it was important to apprehend offenders, it was vital to ensure their rehabilitation, so that after their period of incarceration, they could return to society as law-abiding citizens. “It’s no point sending them to prison for five or 10 years for them to return to society worse or the same as they went in, so I urge you to pay particular attention to the programme of rehabilitation,” he urged.
In his remarks, Gilbert Scott, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, reminded the honourees, that in carrying out their task, they were not just serving the Corrections Department but the country on the whole.
“You are serving the society in its interest and its expectations, as well as you are serving the interest of those who have been put in your care and balancing these sometimes competing expectations I know, adds to your challenge,” he said.
He noted that the presentation of the National Medal of Honour was in recognition of the service they have rendered to the country. “I know that among those qualities that made you qualify for this national medal are discipline, diligence, commitment to exemplary service and proper exemplary conduct and not least among all, that sense of duty,” he said.
Mr. Scott pointed out that in carrying out their tasks, the Correctional Officers sometimes faced risks to their lives, as was the case in the attempted prison break at the Tower Street Correctional Centre in March, where a Correctional Officer was killed. Mr. Scott commended those who foiled the prison break, in addition to the members of Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Jamaica Defence Force and private security industry, “that worked together to apprehend that situation and to very successfully bring it under control.”
Commissioner of Corrections, Major Richard Reese in congratulating the honourees said the many challenges encountered by the Correctional Officers were not enough to deter them from going beyond the call of duty and to maintain that determination to succeed. “The skills and professionalism with which you have performed your duties have exemplified you as persons worthy of recognition at a national level,” he stated.

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