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Inmate public-work programme to continue

Published:Thursday | January 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Inmate Public Work Programme, which uses prisoner muscle to clean up and beautify government places and spaces, is set to continue this year.

Among the projects for the first quarter of 2010 is the repainting of police stations in St Catherine.

Making his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate last week, Senator Dwight Nelson, the national security minister, under whose portfolio the correctional services falls, hailed the programme's success last year. Among the areas which received a facelift were sections along Highway 2000 as well as outside Kingston's National Stadium.

Implemented in 2008, the Inmate Work Programme utilises the labour of moderate- to low-risk prisoners.

Department praised

The minister praised the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) for continuing to make improvements in many areas, including the rehabilitation of offenders for their successful reintegration into the society.

"In 2009, the DCS, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Security and the British Govern-ment, launched the Jamaica Reducing Re-offending Action Plan (JRRAP), as it is called, which underpins the Government's commitment to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of rehabilitation and reintegration services to local offenders and deported persons," he said.

He said JRRAP reinforces the need for collaboration and inter-agency partnerships on Jamaica, and eliminates duplication of services to offenders and deported persons, adding that in 2009, approximately 3,500 persons were deported from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Sitting exams

Addressing the matter of education and training for inmates and wards, Nelson revealed that during 2009, a total of 17 wards and 15 inmates sat Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams.

"The wards at Rio Cobre did very well, with 11 of the 13 wards being successful in at least one subject. Two wards received passes in three subjects," he said.

Meanwhile, funding of $174 million has been allocated to refurbish the Montpelier facility in St James to accommodate male juvenile offenders.

"When the male offenders are removed from the Rio Cobre facility to Montpelier, this will allow the DCS to relocate female offenders to this location," the minister said.