Photo: Ten additional prison officers will be hired to strengthen rehabilitation initiatives.
New officers hired will ‘strengthen prison rehabilitation efforts’
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Expanding educational and technical vocational opportunities for residents at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) has been a primary goal of the superintendent of prisons, Junie Hodge, and additional manpower will be brought in to facilitate the expansion of rehabilitation initiatives.
Last week, the prime minister, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, shared that 10 new officers will be added to the ranks at HMP. Hodge confirmed that the officers have already been recruited and the names have been forwarded to the Ministry of National Security for appropriate follow up.
The additional manpower will be deployed to allow HMP residents to participate in classes off compound. One educational institution has extended an invitation to have residents participate in some of its courses such as electrical and mechanical engineering, plumbing, air conditioning and refrigeration.
While the details are still being ironed out, Hodge noted that any arrangement will ensure that there is a safe zone for all people and the area will be fully secured. No one will be placed at risk unnecessarily.
Some of the new prison personnel will also be directly involved in conducting classes.
“There is one officer who has Spanish, accounts, biology, office procedure [experience] – quite a range of subjects, so we can use him in the teaching area,” Hodge said. “Some of them, who would have been involved in carpentry and masonry, we will use to help to teach the residents who are interested in those disciplines.”
Additionally, discussions are taking place with the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies to explore the possibility of residents and prison officers taking online courses. Hodge said that this would be historic, as no such formal structure currently exists in the region with any UWI-related institution.
“I am looking forward to it to come on stream so that we can better prepare the residents for when we are reintegrating them back into society, so that they can make meaningful contributions and that will help to alleviate the recidivism – that is [people] who would have been here and have to come back because they cannot survive on the outside if they are not prepared,” Hodge stated.
People or companies interested in supporting the rehabilitation initiatives at Her Majesty’s Prison are encouraged to get in touch with Hodge or senior officials in the Ministry of National Security.
There is a need for desks, plastic folding chairs, whiteboards and laptops.