JIS News

The White Marl Primary and Junior High School in St. Catherine, has received a face-lift, through the Inmate Public Work Programme.
Work was carried out by 40 inmates from four correctional institutions, and involved the bushing of areas around the school and the painting and cleaning of the school building.
The paint was donated by Brighton Engineers Limited, while the meal and stipend for the inmates were provided by the Department of Correctional Services.
Speaking at a re-dedication ceremony of the school on September 12, State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Arthur Williams, said the clean-up activity was the 15th project and the school was the fourth to benefit under the programme. Similar clean-up activities have been done at public buildings, and schools, including Zion Hill and Beacon Hill Primary Schools in St. Mary and Woodlands Primary School in Manchester.
To ensure a clean environment at the school, Senator Williams encouraged the Principal to register the institution at the Probation Office in Spanish Town, as a place for carrying out Community Service Orders.
“All it will require is that you have some machetes, maybe a whacker, and then the courts can send people here to keep the school compound clean,” he pointed out.
The State Minister said it was costing taxpayers a “tremendous amount of money,” to maintain the inmates, adding that for the 2000/01 financial year, it had cost some $232,543 to maintain an inmate, while in the 2006/07 financial year, the cost had increased to some $689,644.
“We have to punish people who breach our laws, but there is no reason why we should have able-bodied men locked in and locked down for 20 hours a day doing nothing,” he argued.
The State Minister noted that the increase in maintaining the prisoners was due mainly to the improved medical services now being offered at the various institutions.
“Today, every institution has a clinic and two of them have hospitals. We have a team of medical doctors. We have a pharmacy for the institutions, that can take care of the medical needs of inmates. So, we have come a long way and those improvements cost money,” he said.
The Inmate Public Work Programme, launched on November 7, 2007, is being undertaken by the Department of Correctional Services and involves engaging low-risk inmates in the cleaning and beautification of public places.