British High Commission partners Prison Service on rehab project

Kaieteur News
March 16, 2007

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The British High Commission is partnering the Guyana Prison Service on a project aimed at improving the capacity of the Service to rehabilitate prisoners.

Yesterday, High Commissioner Mr. Fraser Wheeler presented a cheque for £5,000 towards the noble cause.

Speaking at the presentation, Mr. Wheeler said that the approach to crime and security needs to be a holistic one and the prison is no exception.

He added that the donation is an attempt to create an environment which will eventually break the cycle of criminality since most prisoners will have to be re-integrated into communities.

The contribution is particularly aimed at benefiting the young first offenders who have found it difficult to acquire skills to engage in a legitimate trade.

Director of Prisons Dale Erskine, who represented the entity at the ceremony, noted that, “the significant and appropriate donation would be used to enhance the rehabilitation regime of the Prison Service”.

He stressed that crime is a community problem and the prison provides a service when offenders are rehabilitated.

The project caters for the creation of classroom environments where prisoners will be taught basic literacy and numeracy, theory in vocational skills, HIV/AIDS behavioural change programmes, psychology modules and discussions /programmes on social, hygiene, moral and spiritual development.

It is expected that the creation of the classroom environment will have a positive influence on prisoners' learning capabilities and retrain them to lead meaningful and law abiding lives.

Part of the funding will go towards renovating and re-equipping the trade shop at the Mazaruni prison. The present trade shop has not been in operation for several years due to its deplorable condition. The plan also includes establishing a joinery/craft shop at this location to produce quality furniture and craft items that can be sold in Bartica and elsewhere.

At the New Amsterdam prison where female prisoners are held, the project will provide for inmates to be trained as cosmetologists under the supervision of trained prison officers. External professional facilitators will monitor the programme.

This plan is considered as a very instrumental one, which will allow female prisoners to easily acquire a skill and at the same time practice and earn money while they work in the Prisons' cosmetology business.

And at the Georgetown prison a barbering programme will be conducted since it was recognised that that this skill is easy to acquire and that prisoners can be self-employed or employed easily if they are proficient in it.

A reputable external barbering school/business will be asked to test the proficiency of the inmates and award certificates in conjunction with the Guyana Prison Service.

This is the latest in long-standing assistance for the security sector from the British Government.