Prison officers complete basic recruitment training
Stabroek News
December 12, 2001

Twenty prison officers who completed a basic recruitment training course mounted by the Guyana Prison Service received achievement and participation awards recently.

The officers who are assigned to the various penal locations across the country were exposed to training designed to aid in the development of the right attitude in managing inmates, promote a spirit of camaraderie and to gain necessary skills to effectively execute their duties.

Speaking at the closing of the course, former Deputy Director of Prisons and current Ministry of Home Affairs staffer, Joseph Quamina, called on the young officers to be the best in their chosen field.

According to Quamina, prison officers in their personal and professional life have an obligation to carry themselves as proud members of the community and to demonstrate exemplary characteristics.

"When you are finished the security aspect of the job, you have another duty to touch and influence those who come under your charge," Quamina advised, while referring to their impact on the inmates.

The former senior prison official told graduating officers that in order for them to be agents of change, they first have to know themselves and be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Quamina also cautioned the batch of course 3/2001 not to allow themselves to be swept along by the system, noting that there are two types of uniformed workers - jail warders and prison officers.

The former, he added, know the rules and regulations and know how to bend these to their own end and it is with the same brush officers are painted once things go wrong.

"Never believe you are there to lock and unlock prisoners or secure them," he observed, stressing that they have a greater role to play in society which included keeping it secure.

The officers, he asserted, must be able to change the attitude and behaviour of those under their charge, which could only be achieved by the force of their personality.

Earlier, course tutor, Senior Superintendent, Ulric Williams, in a detailed outline of the work undertaken stated that the recruits had been exposed to several aspects of training including techniques for handling difficult situations and other aspects of a prison officer's duties.

This was acknowledged in a student's report, which stated that the group was exposed to both theory and practical aspects of the job and benefited from on-the-job experience.

The group was also exposed to classes which gave them a better perspective of the effects of sexually transmitted diseases including the deadly virus AIDS.

The programme held at the prison services' Brickdam headquarters was attended by Chief Prison Officer, Dale Erskine and prison chaplain, Faye Clarke.