Security State Minister Lauds Inmate Work Project


Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Arthur Williams, has lauded the Inmate Work Project, noting that it provides the opportunity to rehabilitate prisoners and cut down on the recidivism rate.
He said that very often “the reason why they (prisoners) re-offend is that they come out with nothing and nowhere to go and not much to do, but if we can let them work and acquire enough to give them a start when they leave the institutions, then we will be doing our part in ensuring that re-offending is kept at a minimum.”
The Senator was speaking at the meeting of the Prisoner Rehabilitation Committee, which will oversee the Inmate Public Work Project, on (Dec. 12) at the Medallion Hall Hotel.
He pointed out that the prisoners, who participate in the work programme, are paid a stipend, “so not only will they have something while they are in institutions, but something can be put aside for them when they leave the institution.”
Senator Williams noted that while the work programme has to date focussed on the clean-up of public places, “there are a whole range of skills in the penal institutions that can be utilised for the benefit of the society and we do not have to confine ourselves to bushing and cleaning. There are a range of things that can be done utilizing the work from the prisoners.”
Stating that the Government is committed to the rehabilitation of persons in the country’s correctional facilities, Senator Williams said “we do not believe that our correctional centres should be places of punishment. We believe that rehabilitation must be the focus”.
In the meantime, Major Richard Reese, Commissioner of Corrections, noted that the Inmate Work Project provides an opportunity to engage inmates in productive activity and instil in them, good work ethics. More than 50 moderate to low-risk inmates from three adult correctional facilities island wide have been selected to participate in the project, which aims to clean and beautify certain public places.
Launched by Senator Williams on November 7, the programme is being implemented by the Department of Correctional Services as part of its rehabilitation effort.
The work programme, which has as its theme: ‘Rehabilitation – Investment for the future,’ is being carried out in two phases, with phase one, which was carried out over six weeks in the parishes of Kingston, St. Catherine, St. Mary and Manchester ending today (Dec.13). Phase 2 will run for 12-week periods throughout the year beginning on January 7, 2008.

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