Thu | Sep 29, 2022

Tamarind Farm inmates show off skills at expo

Published:Saturday | June 25, 2022 | 10:28 AM
Beds were among the items created by inmates and officers at the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St Catherine for the first staging of a skills expo on June 24, 2022. -Contributed photo
Vases created by inmates and officers at the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St Catherine for their 2022 skills exposition. -Contributed photo
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The Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St Catherine staged an exposition on Friday showcasing a range of agriculture and handmade products created by inmates and officers under its rehabilitation programme. 

It was the first such event at the institution. 

Among the items displayed were home décor, knitted bags, paper bags, clothing, hand-crafted beaded jewellery and metal and wooden furniture. 

The items also included products from inmates at the South Camp Adult Correctional Centre, said a statement from the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

Commissioner of Corrections Lieutenant Colonel Gary Rowe congratulated the teams for organising the event especially after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The DCS team is present to give inmates to whom we have a duty of care, an opportunity to explore options and tap into their hidden skills. It is to give them the confidence to utilise their skills, create and earn. He encouraged inmates to stay the course for success in a creative way," he said. 

Rowe also highlighted that the centre has produced all the poultry it needed for the past two years. 

Two broiler units, with a capacity to house 9,000 chicks, were installed at the facility in 2020. They were expected to result in savings of up to $13 million a year.

Deputy Commissioner of Corrections for Rehabilitation and Probation Aftercare Services, Dr. Marc Thomas said officials at the correctional centre know what works for inmates and that keeping them in isolation "does not lead to many positive outcomes".

"Once inmates can read, have skills and can provide for their families, they are less likely to re-offend, leading to higher outcomes," she said. 

Jamaica's re-offending rate is above 40 per cent. 

Some of the rehabilitation programmes at Tamarind Farm include carpentry; computing; tailoring; welding; event styling and décor; weed trimmer; life skills and education.

The institution was established in 1949 as a part of the St. Catherine District Prison. It remained attached until 1972 when it gained its autonomy. 

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