Sat | Dec 16, 2017

St Ann Probation Office aggressive on kindness, reintegration

Published:Tuesday | August 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines
Parolees seen working on a property along Johnson Road in Bamboo, St Ann, on Thursday.
Refurbishment being carried out under the Community Service Orderees and Parolees programme at a property along Johnson Road in Bamboo St Ann on Thursday.
Making sure that the roof can stand up to nature’s wrath.
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Reintegrating offenders into civil society through identifying projects that require noble acts of selflessness is what the St Ann Probation Office prides itself on.

And while a lack of resources sees the office hard-pressed to complete the quantity of projects intended for the less fortunate in St Ann, those under Community Service Orderees (CSO) and Parolees programme have remained equal to the task of giving back through labour.

CSO is a sentencing option for persons convicted of crimes in which the court orders the defendant to perform a number of hours of unpaid work for the benefit of the pubic, while free labour on the part of parolees is voluntary.

"It continues to mould better men and women," said Sophia McKenzie, community service and parole officer for St Ann.

Since assuming the role four years ago, McKenzie has spearheaded several goodwill projects in the parish and has declared that the initiative has renewed core values in those previously found on the wrong side of the law.

"The role they play is a contributor to Vision 2030. It's a twofold service which benefits not just the person being assisted but also the CSO and parolee in terms of smoothly transitioning back into communities and develop-ing a productive mindset."

Having identified a sickly, elderly mother of five living in a dilapidated structure in Bamboo, St Ann, early in the year, McKenzie's last project ended on Thursday.

ASSISTANCE WELCOMED

"The dwelling had no roof, so we rectified that on Labour Day (May 23). Then on Thursday, after contributions from my colleagues, the island coordinator, a local hardware store, the deputy mayor (Sidney Stewart), and my own purse, we completed the flooring and the bathroom.

"While this is a passion for myself and office, we welcome any assistance from corporate entities. We've identified many persons in dire need. We have the labour, we just need the materials," added McKenzie.

While speaking to The Gleaner, CSO and parole coordinator at the Department of Correctional Services, Charmaine Holness, also echoed the need for added corporate support.

Based in May Pen, Holness was present on Thursday during the labour activities in Bamboo, St Ann.

"For the parolees, it's a service of love," said Holness, while stating that parole offices continue to work vigorously to give offenders a second chance at a normal life.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com