State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says the Ministry is expanding its rehabilitation programme to further reduce recidivism.
Speaking to JIS News at the valedictory service for the 76th intake of Correctional Officers at the Salem Baptist Church in St. Ann on January 23, Senator Charles Jr. said that the partnership with advocacy group, Stand Up for Jamaica, through its Fresh Start programme, has garnered $45 million to boost the CXC curriculum and training for inmates.
The State Minister added that this partnership and other projects, such as the ‘We Transform’ programme, which targets juveniles 12 to 18 years, will be used to expose inmates to life skills, vocational skills and prepare them for other opportunities.
“The goal is really for us to train and to teach vocational skills where possible, and to help the inmates to be equipped, so that they can have purposeful rehabilitation for successful reintegration,” he said.
The State Minister underscored the importance of the partnership, saying this will provide opportunities for inmates to get a job, so that they do not “reoffend”.
He argued that while there might not be a 100 per cent success rate, this is an investment in the country.
“This is a smart investment, not in a prisoner but in a Jamaican, because if we can transform these lives, when they return to their community they will be less of a risk, and they may even be constructive and productive citizens,” the State Minister said.
He explained that this approach is in conjunction with the National Rehabilitation Strategy, which the Department of Correctional Services has incorporated in its operational policies.