Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Prison offer doesn't benefit Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | January 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The British prison offer is a case that reminds of looking a gift horse in the mouth. The offer seemed a good deal, considering our overcrowded and deteriorated prisons. But the reality is that we would be relieving the UK of £3 million annually by taking their prisoners.

On top of that, would we have to provide for them, according to "international standards" and their UK customs, fish and chips with a pint, perhaps, and tea and biscuits? Would doing that for our 'friend' be justified when other social priorities abound? Was this the first step for Jamaica to become an extension of foreign government's penal system by a contracting-out process for their prisoners, Jamaicans or not?

What is so special with Jamaican prisoners, who commit their crimes in UK, or elsewhere, that Jamaica should take them in to serve their sentences? What have they done for Jamaica, other than give us a bad name? Such arrangements are for rich countries, for example, the USA and Canada, where social conditions are way ahead of Jamaica.

Jamaica's social priorities demand much attention, but resources are scarce. Imagine what improvements £15 million, if available without raising taxes, would do?

Jamaicans who are deportable are in that position because of their negligence. It tells me that, for all the years they were resident abroad, they did not appreciate the limited rights of a resident compared to that of a citizen


As adults, they chose to remain on the edge of society, not willing or able to participate in any elections - and never even taking steps to rectify that undesirable situation - even when dual citizenship was available. When these people commit crimes, they must pay their dues to that society, from which they are a product.

Yes, Jamaica has an obligation to take in its citizens, but it would be political suicide for Prime Minister Andrew Holness to make building a prison to suit UK's priority - cut expenses for its non-citizen criminals - a top item on his social infrastructure improvements.

When they serve their sentence and are released, that's when they should be allowed back, not before so as to ease budgetary pressures of a foreign government.


Ontario, Canada