Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Service clubs urged to aid in rehabilitation of inmates

Published:Wednesday | June 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security Senator Pearnel Charles Jr

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security Senator Pearnel Charles Jr is calling on non-profit organisations such as service clubs to partner with the Government in the rehabilitation of inmates.

Charles, who was speaking at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of St Andrew at the Institute of Chartered Accountants on Ruthven Road, said the involvement of such groups will contribute to the holistic reintegration of inmates into society, and in ensuring that the cycle of crime does not continue.

He noted that there are several rehabilitation support projects undertaken by the Rotary Clubs internationally and urged the local club to replicate these initiatives.

He said, for example, that service clubs could engage inmates and their families through social-interaction programmes.

FAMILY VISIT

"One critical area of rehabilitation is the family visit. Ninety per cent of the incarcerated population is men, and when you remove the father from the family, it leaves a void. Let us work to find ways to fill this gap in the homes, through social-interaction programmes in your clubs," he urged.

Charles Jr further encouraged the club members to develop programmes that assist ex-offenders to return to the community and "overcome the many barriers that

can prevent the successful living that the incarceration experience creates".

"There must be a collaborative investment of our time, energy and money in the prevention of crime. To break the cycle of crime and violence, we must demystify the stigma of incarceration and reduce reoffending," he added.

Charles noted that as part of the national crime strategy, the Government is committed to a correctional system that redirects offenders from pursuing careers in crime to becoming productive law-abiding citizens when they return to society.

He informed that transformational programmes have been designed taking into consideration that 80 per cent of inmates will be reintroduced to society in less than three years.

"So, with the help of the service clubs having programmes that are preventive in nature, ones that address rehabilitation and reintegration, we can anticipate successful rehabilitation," he argued.