Photo: Superintendent Junie Hodge (left) greets PM Timothy Harris.
Local company offers post-release training for former prisoners
Basseterre, St. Kitts – A local company has stepped forward with a training opportunity for residents of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) so that they can learn a skill and support themselves and their families when they leave the corrections institution.
Junie Hodge, superintendent of prisons, said the training will focus on auto repair and cater for four residents and a prison officer. The men will have a temporary job attachment and learn about the intricacies of fixing modernized cars, which offers more technology-based features and are computerized. The details are being finalized.
It is part of the rehabilitation program that features inmates having greater access to educational opportunities, job opportunities and social skills training to promote better decision making, discipline, anger management, time management, goal building and other areas. The social training is largely being facilitated by officials from the Departments of Gender Affairs and Social Services.
Hodge praised the support from government, noting that the prime minister, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty, have been quite supportive of the reforms taking place to uplift the men and women at HMP.
He called for other companies and individuals to foster partnerships with HMP that can positively impact the residents, particularly in areas that will assist their reintegration after serving time.
“I’m asking the general public to judge these individuals based on their now, not on their past,” Hodge stated, referring to the post-prison period. “They will see vacancies out there and if they are qualified … give them that second chance. They are our brothers, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, cousins, aunts, so we just cannot turn our backs on them when they are released from the institution.”
The prison head added that everyone has a role to play in assisting the rehabilitated person to “reintegrate into society,” noting that they will need ongoing encouragement to be a part of the solution rather than contributing to the problem.