Inmates, guards to get graduate scholarships | News

Four additional inmates and two correctional officers from St Catherine’s Adult Correctional Center are receiving full scholarships to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC).

This is made possible under an extended program yesterday with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Department of National Security, Department of Corrections (DCS), UCC and the human rights lobby. man Stand Up For Jamaica.

Under this initiative, UCC will cover application and miscellaneous costs, while DCS and Stand Up For Jamaica have committed to providing an equipped computer lab, books and other materials, and support services. to the students for the participants.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at UCC’s main campus in St Andrew’s yesterday, the Commissioner of Corrections, Lieutenant General (Retired) Gary Rowe said continued partnership means the commitment of the DCS to ensure that inmates have access to higher education and rehabilitation even as it also deals with the welfare of officers within the institutions.

Rowe said that within DCS there are passionate advocates who believe that education is the key to success and that if given the opportunity to develop, inmates can make a positive contribution to the growth and to the development of the country after their liberation.

“The department is committed and will ensure this project is successfully executed,” Rowe said.

Minister of State for National Security Zavia Mayne has expressed a desire to see more such partnerships.

“…Opportunities like these give them a chance to redeem themselves so that…when their time is over, they will be able to reintegrate into society, [giving] greater ability to reintegrate into wider society,” he said.

In 2020, St Catherine’s Adult Correctional Center launched a pilot program which offered full scholarships to four inmates and one corrections officer.

Mayne appealed to members of the private sector, other educational institutions and non-profit organizations to help DCS launch more of these programs to equip inmates with the tools to successfully reintegrate and reduce number of repeat offenders with four out of every 10 people who went through the criminal system were likely to return.

“There is concern for us, and we recognize that we need to expose our inmates to rehabilitation programs that will eliminate if not significantly reduce the chance of recidivism,” he said.

Through educational rehabilitation programs implemented by DCS, Mayne reported that through December 2021, one hundred and sixty-three wards were engaged in academic and vocational activities administered by 20 civilian teachers and instructors.

Approximately 3,500 adult inmates also participated in learning activities.

He believes that adult prisoners should be ordered to enroll in vocational and university programs.

“The time has come; we need to start the conversation. We need to elevate the conversation…. As a sentencing order, convicts should be mandated to participate in rehabilitation programs,” he added.

“Today, we are not only increasing inmate literacy, but building self-esteem and giving them hope – hope for a better future and becoming a better version of themselves. while they served their sentence and were released into the wider community,” the Minister of State said.

Dr. Yvonne Dawkins, associate vice president for academic affairs at UCC, said a new phase of the program would be launched in the future to include juveniles from the South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Center for Girls, targeting a more large number of prisoners.

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