Dale Erskine has been doing an excellent job with the prison service
Stabroek News
March 8, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I was a former Peace Corps Volunteer with the Guyana Prison Service for nearly two years. (1997 99) I wish to express my support for Mr. Dale Erskine and his colleagues who strive hard to bring Guyana's prison system to the level it should be. Mr. Erskine and his Senior staff should be supported and embraced during this time, not second guessed from a position of 20/20 hindsight.

It is without reservation that the Guyana Prison Service's struggle is no different than any other countries' struggle. If you have never worked in Corrections, this is a world that is all its own. There are three problems that every prison faces; Overcrowding of inmates, underpaid staff, and Overworked officers. Yet the interesting contrast is that more laws are passed to put people away, and less money is usually provided to meet the prison system's needs.

I have seen the Guyana Prison Service first hand and worked with other organizations. I know that nothing happens too fast in Guyana, and the changes that are needed will take a great deal of time. It is unrealistic to expect that the prison service will modernize faster than any of the other Disciplined Services or for that matter the rest of the country. Corrections on the whole are always looked down on, and if the general public knew what a Prison Officer I or II made in relationship to their responsibility, it would be shocking. Although there are other underpaid professions, how many people wake up every day and know that they are going to an enclosed facility with known violent offenders waiting to lie, cheat, steal, and in some cases assault you?

I hope that when people think about Mr. Erskine, they know that they have one of Guyana's most forward thinking, energetic, educated, and committed leaders. There are only a small breed of people cut out for prison work, and to lose Mr. Erskine would be an effect that the Guyana Prison Service and Guyana would feel for generations.

Yours faithfully,

Jason Rosen

Washington, D.C. USA