Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, is calling for societies to accept ex-prisoners back into communities after they have served their time.
According to Samuels, “There’s a stigma attached to persons who were in prison, whether they were on remand for an offence or serving a sentence. When they come out society would normally call them a ‘jail man’ or even deny them jobs because of their prison life.”
“Many persons are not open to take ex-prisoners back into communities and this is one of the main factors why we have repeat offenders, because they will feel as though prison is the only place for them.”
The prison head highlighted that many inmates work very hard towards reforming themselves. However, because of a lack of support outside the prison walls, their minds may go back to the life of being incarcerated.
“When they [prisoners] are in here, trust me they work very hard on themselves. We have a whole lot of programs to equip them with skills for work and even provide anger management training. For hardcore criminals we have them working the farms to instill a need to work and acquire your own things.”
“Sadly, when some of them leave and they can’t find the support that they have in here, for many it’s a challenge to find jobs, they believe that prison is better than what they have on the road.”
Samuels added that the disadvantage that the prisons are facing to properly bring out reformation in persons is a limitation of space to target every individual.
“Because there are so many people in prison there is a limited space, so even though you would like to have one-on-one activities with everyone during their reformation process it is difficult to do that.”
Moreover, the prison director indicated that there are the seasoned criminals who influence others to make prison their home.
“In prison there isn’t any segregation, so you would find persons with petty offences mixing with some hardcore criminals and the seasoned criminals often influence the petty offenders.”
“A man may be on remand for snatching somebody’s chain, but a couple weeks later after he is freed, he may return with a robbery under arms offence under his belt. This is a great challenge we face. However, it is hard to determine if a person would take influencing as they swear this prison time will be their first and last time and for the years I have been there I can say that many live up to that promise.”
The Prison Director conceded that some repeat offenders see themselves back in prison because of the ‘easy’ life of three square meals a day, a limited work life and a roof over their heads.
“I do agree that some run from responsibilities out there in the free world. However, at the beginning of the new school term, some send out their assets that they have earned while working in prison for their children.
Sadly, some view prison life as a luxury.”
“We are all humans and are prone to mistakes. Being in prison should be a learning experience. Being a free person should be better than incarceration. Now that we have access to reformation it is safer to desist from crimes.”
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