BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- An initiative aimed at ensuring that once an inmate is discharged from prison they can smoothly reintegrate into society has been embarked on by Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) in St. Kitts and Nevis and the Department of Gender Affairs.
Terrence James, HMP Commissioner of Corrections, said he has been in communication with Mrs. Celia Christopher, Director of the Department of Gender Affairs, to discuss the way forward.
“Part of our plan/strategy going forward is to collaborate so we will have a proper structure in place so that when an inmate is nearing discharge time we can prepare them for reintegration into society,” said Commissioner James. “Mrs. Christopher wanted to start programmes that will teach inmates to be entrepreneurs. When they leave the prison, they can start their own business.”
Commissioner James said HMPs rehabilitation programmes are very important as they are implemented to assist inmates in developing skills.
“That is why we are trying to have our rehabilitation programmes teach them a skill so that when leave they can seek employment on their own or start up their own business,” said James. “This is the direction we tend to go in our rehabilitation programmes.”
Eustace Warner of Warner’s One Stop in St. Kitts has also committed to assisting ex-inmates.
“Mr. Warner came forward and is willing to partner with Her Majesty’s Prison so that when inmates are approaching their discharged date, we can make contact with him,” explained James. “Warner has indicated he will make provisions or attempt to have a job lined up for one or two individuals.”
Commissioner James hailed the initiative as a generous move. He noted that often, ex-inmates, especially females, have a difficult task of finding employment. He added that once an employer receives word that an individual has been incarcerated, the “tone of the music changes.”