Wed | Jun 3, 2020

Letter of the day | UCC standing up for rehabilitation

Published:Wednesday | January 8, 2020 | 12:32 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Stand Up for Jamaica (SUFJ) has always had a dream for inmates in Jamaica’s correctional facilities to have access to tertiary education. Through the visionary leadership of the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC), that dream is now a reality.

Through a multi-stakeholder partnership with SUFJ, the Ministry of National Security, the Department of Correctional Services and UCC, four inmates and one correctional officer will be offered scholarships to pursue associate of science degrees in business administration through UCC’s online platform.

This partnership has been in the making for some time now and the signing of the memorandum of understanding, which will put the plans into operation, is a significant step forward in the further enhancement of rehabilitation for the inmates.

Stand Up for Jamaica has, through the support of the European Union, offered inmates the opportunity to study for and sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams. Last year, we expanded our CSEC offerings and added the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination as an option for those inmates that excel at the CSEC exams.

In expanding the qualifications that inmates could earn, we were always concerned that a level of frustration would set in for those inmates who wanted to pursue higher education. Through the scholarships being offered by the UCC, the career opportunities available to inmates will now be a real possibility rather than a hopeless dream.

SUFJ has often raised the concern about the inability of inmates to secure employment after they are released from prison, despite their educational achievements while behind bars. Now that they are able to access higher education and increase their level of knowledge, we sincerely hope that this situation will change and the stigma towards them will be reduced. SUFJ thanks the UCC for taking this bold step and for standing up for the rehabilitation of inmates.

CARLA GULLOTTA

Executive Director

Stand Up for Jamaica