A senior prison official is urging Barbadians to be less judgemental and more embracing of reformed inmates seeking to re-integrate into society.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) at H.M.P Dodds, Ryan Phillips, said that the re-integration process of reformed inmates was being hampered at times by people’s perception, as persons were still a little hesitant in giving them (inmates) a second chance.??
"As the PRO, I’m out there every day interacting with the public and what I can say is that there is an interest in what we do and that alone tells me that people are now coming around and, therefore, they too have a role to play.?? However, the change is not as significant as we would like, but we are working towards that.?? So far, we have seen a number of people volunteer their services to assist us in terms of skills and academic programmes," he said.
Explaining that his job also meant a high level of interaction within the community, Mr. Phillips noted that the prison was also looking to engage in more community activities that would enable the public to better understand and to know what was taking place there.?? He said it would also let the public know about the various programmes that Dodds had undertaken, and to stimulate them (the public) to be more involved in activities that would seek to help with the proper re-integration of inmates who passed through the system.
"We live in a very unforgiving society, and I will not say anything other than that, but all reports indicate to us when we do our assessments that it is very hard for inmates to survive or to make a living on the outside, and we need the public to play its part because after we have done all that we can in terms of rehabilitation, there is still an active part for families and the public to play.
"These people are products of society and we do not only have this social role to play, but we have to ensure that the moral fabric of society is supported.?? We have to make certain that they have the necessary backing from the public that they can go out there and work, and generate the necessary funds… So, we are asking the public to see it as a Second Chance, which is our theme for Prison Service Week, October 14 to 21.?? Help us re-integrate these people, help us to allow rehabilitation to work," he stressed.