Repurposing lives through rehabilitation
Rehabilitation in the correctional context is the process of providing a relevant, structured and enabling environment to facilitate the empowerment of those in our care. As one of the core functions of the Department of Correctional Service, policies and programmes are designed to address the deficiencies identified upon assessment of the offenders on admission. These policies and programmes fall under the Rehabilitation Unit and are carried out in the various adult and juvenile Correctional Centres as well as at the community level.
Education plays a critical role in the rehabilitation of offenders. The education programmes facilitate literacy and numeracy studies at the basic, intermediate and the advanced levels. The average school enrollment is presently 771students; 220 wards and 551 inmates. Offenders at the advanced level are exposed to the CSEC examination. Of the 66 offenders who sat the CSEC examination for 2015, 60% passed at least one subject. Six inmates received distinction in Mathematics and five in English. There was a 100% success rate in Office Administration and an 89% success rate in Principles of Business. The success rates for both the inmates and wards are shown below:
Summary of CSEC Results 2015 for Adult Institutions
Inmates and wards are engaged in various vocational skills, including carpentry, farming, metal work, tailoring, auto mechanics, cosmetology, computer studies, home economics, plumbing, masonry and electrical installation. In August of this year, Tower Street completed a contract for making uniforms for the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
In 2015, 19 wards and 63 inmates were assessed and certified by HEART/NTA in carpentry and general construction. Discussions are currently taking place towards a Memorandum of Understanding between HEART/NTA and the Ministry of National Security, with the Department of Corrections as the beneficiary. This will enable inmates and wards to be trained and certified in various skills.
Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) and the Department of Correctional Services are also seeking to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the training and certification of inmates in the High School Diploma Equivalency Programme.
Expositions are held during Corrections Month each year where the skills and talents of inmates and wards in the vocational areas are displayed. Two main expositions will be held during Corrections Month this year, the first being on October 16, 2015 at the Horizon Adult Corrections Remand Centre and the other on October 23, 2015 at the St. Catherine Correctional Centre’s Sports Club.
A rehabilitation grant is available to offenders who have served at least one year incarcerated. This grant is aimed at assisting them in restarting their lives by opening meaningful businesses when they return to their communities, such as farming, chicken rearing or a grocery shop.
Work release programmes
Provisions are made for eligible inmates to participate in the Work Release Programmme. It is a conditional release for eligible inmates to be engaged in productive and gainful work in the open society.
Home Leave is a privilege granted to inmates at New Broughton Sunset Adult Correctional Centre, Manchester and the Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Centre, as well as wards at the Juvenile Correctional Centres, to spend time with their families during major holidays. The main purpose of Home Leave is to aid the process of an offender’s rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
Support from the various stakeholders throughout the years has helped to enhance the rehabilitation process. Stand Up For Jamaica (SUFJ) – through the support of the European Union – has made significant contributions to the inmates’ rehabilitation process. HEART Trust/NTA – through SUFJ – has provided training to inmates at the Tower Street, St. Catherine and Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centres in such areas as: Computing, Data operations, Music and Art and Craft.
Other major contributions have come from Food for the Poor, The British High Commission, UNICEF,USAID, UNESCO and the Medical Missions, such as the Nova Southeastern University (Health Through Walls) and the Beulah Baptist International Church (Tampa Health Team).