SOME 30 people who were imprisoned for several months because of an inability to pay their fines for minor offences were released in time to spend Easter with their family and friends.
Among those released was a 24-year-old vendor from Ocho Rios in St Ann, who had served three months in prison for breaching the Copyright Act. He described his time in prison as hell.
"Sleepless nights ... tiresome days. I feel like I have been here for years. I would love to one day go back to school and get some subjects. This life is not for me."
A media release from Food For The Poor on the weekend said it is Jamaica's largest Easter prisoner-release programme to date.
Food For The Poor donors paid the prisoners' outstanding fines to secure their freedom and reintroduce them to society as productive citizens.
Their release is part of Food For The Poor's prison-ministry initiative, which is conducted during the Easter and Christmas seasons each year.
One inmate from the Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St Mary joined the group at St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre for his release.
"Love means action, and Food For The Poor is today demonstrating our love by paying your fines for you to return home to your families," Jacqueline Johnson, Food For The Poor Jamaica's senior consultant, told the beneficiaries.
"We are proud to do this because everyone makes mistakes, but everyone deserves a second chance. You have been given the opportunity for a fresh start."
In addition to paying their fines, Food For The Poor also gave each released inmate a gift package containing toiletries and a stipend to assist with transportation and food while they travel to their various homes.
Speaking to the four released inmates from Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St Catherine, Sandra Ramsey, Food For The Poor Jamaica's prison ministry administrator, said the charity was blessed with donors who consistently provide the funds each year to release inmates.
"The donors work hard to ensure that the funds are provided every year. Therefore, whatever you do, try not to return. Make the most of this investment."