Sun | Jun 26, 2022

Introduce skills training for prisoners

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2022 | 12:17 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I am writing this letter with reference to the article, ‘Life sentence more effective than death penalty’, published in The Gleaner on May 26.

Life sentence does not benefit our economy, and neither does it benefit the economy of Norway, so they banned it. Norway’s prison system benefits its economy, and is consistently ranked number one in the world. According to The Borgen Project, as of 2014, Norway’s incarceration rate was at only 75 per 100,000 people. In addition, since developing its new prison system in the 1990s, its recidivism rate has decreased from around 60-70 per cent to only 20 per cent in recent years. The main reason for these statistics is due to a focus on “restorative justice,” an approach that identifies prisons in the same category as rehabilitation facilities. Rather than focusing on the punishment and mistreatment of its prisoners, Norway has the primary goal of reintegrating its prisoners as stable contributors to communities.

Norway reduced the population of prisoners that are re-incarcerated, so more individuals are able to contribute to the economy once their sentence is complete. Their prison system equips prisoners with education-based knowledge and labour skills that have long-term benefits to its country’s economy and also improves their personal lives. Among the prison population that was a 34 per cent increase in a group taking up job-training courses, which resulted in a 40 per cent increase in their employment.

In Jamaica, there should be a more effective drive towards eradicating illegal gun crimes permanently eradicate the estimated 200 illegal guns that are “ smuggled into the country each month from the United States (US),” according to Jamaican authorities and the New York Times.

So, we must stop the illegal gun trade, and get help from the US to do so, if we want to reduce the homicide rate, and how much crime costs Jamaica.

According to World Bank estimates, crime is costing Jamaica about five per cent of the country’s gross domestic product per year, which translates to about $66 billion per year.

CARGILL KELLY