Reformed inmates are deserving of a second chance.
Public Relations Officer at H.M.P Dodds, Ryan Phillips, expressed this view recently as he pointed out that the Barbados Prison Service was working feverishly with its rehabilitation, re-integration and resettlement programme to ensure recently released inmates were able to function and survive, once they had completed their sentence and returned to society.
Speaking ahead of the Prison’s week of activities, scheduled to run from October 14 to 21, under the theme Second Chance, the official acknowledged that it was imperative that prison officers engaged in community activities, so that the public would be aware of the types of programmes undertaken by the prison.
"We have adopted the St. Philip Primary School, also church support groups and inmate support groups.?? We are even going as far as interacting with parents who have formed support groupings of their own; and all of these things help us to get the word across that we understand their plight; we understand what they are going through and we have a part to play in bringing about change," he said.
To aid in the rehabilitation process, Mr. Philips noted that at Dodds there is a rehabilitation floor, as well as a Sentence Manager’s programme.
"What happens at this level is that inmates are classified, assessed and referrals are made.?? Referrals are made for anger management and coping skills classes.???? If an inmate has a psychiatric disorder, we make referrals for that, as well as HIV and drug treatment.?? We also have an educational component," the officer explained.
However, the PR Officer admitted that not all prisoners could be rehabilitated as it was an individual decision to want to work through the programme and seek self-improvement.
"They [the prisoners] have to understand where they are at and the changes they need to implement within their lives.?? So, that is why I will say all prisoners cannot be rehabilitated.???? Nevertheless, society also has a pivotal role to play, as well as support agencies, and if they do not have that mechanism in place then our programmes cannot be a success and change will not occur," the officer reasoned.