Tue | Jan 16, 2018

Sandra’s commitment to serve - National honour for FFP’s prison ministry leader pushes her to do even more

Published:Sunday | January 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Sandra Ramsey (right) delivering good news to an inmate who is set to be released through the intervention of Food For The Poor.

Since 2003, Sandra Ramsey has managed Food For The Poor's (FFP) Prison Ministry Department, which has arranged for more than 8,000 prisoners being released and only 200 of these inmates have gone back to prison.

Ramsey's work has managed to change the lives of many non-violent inmates, and her organisation ensures that it helps to provide the necessary means for inmates to become productive members of our society.

FFP's prison ministry was established to assist with meeting the needs of inmates, ex-inmates and penal institutions.

Conducted twice each year, during Easter and Christmas, FFP's prison releases have been far-reaching and life-changing.

With FFP's support, the Fresh Start Programme and direct donations to the prisons, inmates are provided with the requisite skills to foster their smooth transition into society.

Ramsey's work entails looking after the 12 correctional facilities across the island, ensuring that operations run smoothly and supplies such as medical items, food and building materials are continuously provided.

Ramsey received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer at the ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards last year, as she was recognised, in part, for her continuous and impactful work with FFP's Prison Ministry.

"It's a very emotional thing - you have to be there to experience these emotions as it gives you a completely different perspective on the inmates," said Ramsey.

Each prison release is a surprise for the inmates. During each release, FFP pays the fines of inmates who have committed minor, non-violent offences.

"Surprising the inmates and telling them that they are going home is a heart-warming experience to be a part of - sometimes they don't believe that they are going home," added Ramsey.

FFP's Prison Ministry Programme also provides assistance for the released inmates to start profitable businesses in areas such as welding, carpentry, farming and sewing.

"Once the inmates are out of prison, we interview them to see how best we can help them start their lives. Once we set them up in a particular business, we follow up with the ex-inmates by calling up and checking on them," said Ramsey.

"The released inmates are very grateful for our work, and for the most part, they stay on the right track. They don't want to go back to prison - all they want is a little help," added Ramsey.