JIS News

More than 50 inmates from three adult correctional facilities island wide have been selected to participate in the Inmates Public Work Project, which aims to clean and beautify certain public places.
The programme involves inmates, who are regarded as moderate to low risk and is part of the Department of Correctional Services’ rehabilitation programme, which has as its theme: ‘Rehabilitation – Investment for the future.’
The project was launched on Wednesday (Nov. 7) at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre in Kingston by the Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Arthur Williams.
“The prison rehabilitation work programme is a demonstration of the new thrust of this government towards rehabilitation measures in the correctional institutions, while at the same time making inmates more productive by putting them to work during their incarceration,” the State Minister explained.
The work programme, which will involve the clean-up and beautification of public places as well as the repair and maintenance of selected buildings, will be carried out in two phases. Phase one will last six weeks from November 5 to December 13 and will focus on the parishes of Kingston, St. Catherine, St. Mary and Manchester, while phase 2 will run for 12-week periods throughout the year beginning on January 7, 2008.
Giving details of the projects to be undertaken by the inmates, Senator Williams outlined that two teams of 20 inmates from the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre will be engaged in clean up activities in Kingston and St. Catherine.
The areas to be cleaned include the May Pen Cemetery; Shoe Makers’ Gully; the area in front of the St. Andrew Technical High School; the Bellevue Hospital to include the Psychiatric Clinic opposite Rae Town; the Barrett Street area in Spanish Town to include the Cathedral Church; and a road corridor in Portmore.
One team of 10 inmates from the Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Centre will carry out work at secondary schools in Highgate and the Richmond Police Station in St. Mary, while four inmates from the New Broughton Sunset Adult Correctional Centre will work at the Cross Keys Police Station and Cross Keys Secondary School in Manchester.
“The selected areas will be cleaned and beautified and importantly, a maintenance plan will be put in place for sustained activity by inmates of these institutions,” Senator Williams said.
He assured that the programme will not pose a security risk. “It will involve moderate to low risk inmates from these institutions who have been carefully selected so as to enable them to be prepared for the world of work once they are released from prison,” he explained. The inmates, he noted, will earn a daily stipend for their efforts.
In the meantime, Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Senator Desmond McKenzie, pledged $250,000 towards the clean-up of the May Pen Cemetery, which will be disbursed through the Lift Up Jamaica Project.
According to Senator McKenzie, the 135-acre cemetery is a reservoir of history. “The May Pen Cemetery can become a major tourist attraction in the city of Kingston like other cities in the world.and remains the cheapest burial spot anywhere in Jamaica,” he stated.
Commissioner of Corrections, Major Richard Reese, in his remarks, referred to the project as a “partnership for success,” which supports the Conditional Release Programme. He appealed to the private sector to support the initiative by providing earth-moving equipment and trucks.
The project is being undertaken by the Department of Correctional Services in conjunction with the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Jamaica Defence Force, the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, the Portmore Municipal Council, the St. Catherine Parish Council, the Manchester Parish Council, National Solid Waste Management Authority and members of the Caribbean Search Team.

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