Tue | Jan 18, 2022

Should ex-convicts never work again, Mr Bunting?

Published:Thursday | April 20, 2017 | 3:41 PMTHE EDITOR, Sir:

Opposition Spokesman on National Security Peter Bunting was quoted on the front page of The Gleaner (Wednesday, April 19) querying whether a person convicted of narcotics offences in the United States and deported to Jamaica should be eligible to receive a contract from the government. I have since been wondering what Mr Bunting would recommend for all those persons who have served time in prison and need to make an honest living.

Much has changed since the old days of throwing offenders into dungeons when the focus of prisons was retribution. Today, a more enlightened world realises that these persons - or most of them - will rejoin us in short order and the sensible thing to do is expose them to a period of rehabilitation. This way, when they return, they can be welcomed as responsible, contributing members of society.

If this is not done, prison will just become a revolving door. It is this new thinking why places like Norway are closing prisons because of enlightened ideas on these matters.

If you are out of prison and out of work and jobs are out of reach, how are you to eat brother Bunting?

A few years ago, city officials in San Francisco passed an ordinance prohibiting city contractors from ever enquiring about a job applicant's criminal history. It is not them, but what they did that society finds unacceptable.