Solution to crime lies within the community
--- visiting Prisons Fellowship chief
Guyana Chronicle
January 28, 2004

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CHIEF Executive Officer of Prisons Fellowship International (PWI), Ronald Nikkel, who is here on a visit, is of the view that crime is a reflection of the society from which it emanated and the solutions to it lie within the community.

Nikkel expressed this view yesterday at a luncheon at the Prison Officers Sports Club, Camp Street that was held in honour of he and his team, which included Mike Wilson, Executive Director of PWI in Canada, and Jack Kiervin, Chairman of PWI

He contended that the solution to criminal activity lies beyond the legal and penal systems because crimes actually are manifested from within the environment children are exposed to, adding that after prisoners complete their sentences it is imperative that they are reabsorbed into society and are not isolated.

Nikkel believes that contrary to other schools of thought, which attributes criminality to economic and sociological causes, it is a problem related to morality and spirituality, therefore it is necessary to break the criminal cycle from childhood by exposing children to high ethical, moral standards and spirituality.

When inmates are released from prison they return to the community but their incarceration "does not cure the heart, something inside the prisoner has to change," Nikkel stressed.

On the issue of justice, Nikkel said it not simply punishment for crimes committed, rather it is the restoration of the damage that has been done to society that constitutes true justice. He added that too often the children and families of prisoners are forgotten, as well as the destruction of peace and harmony that is caused by criminal activity.

However, Nikkel following a tour of the Camp Street Prison commended the staff of the Guyana Prison Service, which he described as dedicated and professional, and are performing a good job under difficult and challenging circumstances.