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Help needed with rehabilitation of inmates at HMP – Visiting Justice

Help needed with rehabilitation of inmates at HMP – Visiting Justice

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An appeal has been made to members of the business community to do whatever they can to help with the rehabilitation of inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP).

The call came on Sunday from chairperson of the Prison Board of Visiting Justices Samuel Rodney.

Rodney, addressing persons gathered at the rear of the High Court in Kingstown for the annual ‘Talent Behind the Walls’ concert, said that for the last year, HMP has upped its efforts to rehabilitate prisoners, but has not been receiving support.

“The institution tries, but it seems we are last on everybody’s list. We need equipment; nobody gives us; we need contributions of material, instruments; nobody helps us,” said Rodney.

He said he will be very grateful if persons would get together and contribute to HMP, as they need things like saws, chisels and machines and other tools that can be used to teach inmates a trade.

“We want them to learn, so that when they come out, they can be useful to their families and society on a whole,” said Rodney.

He said that many times, a person does something wrong and ends up behind the walls and is forgotten by society.

“We literally forget them until they come out. You don’t know what they have been going through on the inside, but when they come out and they try to get a job, you turn your backs and so what happens, they come back in.

“We have been trying for the past year to help our inmates for the purpose of rehabilitating them into society, but we are very disappointed that when they come out, society doesn’t help; society turns their back on them and would not give a second chance and don’t want to forgive them for what they did and as a result, they go back inside,” stressed Rodney.

However, Rodney said help has been received from a few persons and institutions and he is appreciative of those who have contributed and hopes that they will continue to do so.

Also addressing the gathering, Superintendent of Prisons Brendon Charles paid tribute to evangelist Don Overstreet, who started the prison concert 49 years ago.

Overstreet died last week in California and was buried on Sunday.

Charles said that Overstreet started the concert with a strict Christian programme, but over the years, they have shifted the programme to include other forms of entertainment.

The superintendent said that next year, they will hold a special programme to mark the 50th anniversary of the concert.

Charles also encouraged persons to support the prison and embrace the concept of giving persons a second chance.

During the concert, the first, second and third place winners in the prison debate competition, which was held last week, were rewarded with trophies. First place went to Joleen Williams, second place to Jolette LaBorde, while Junior Jarvis placed third.  

The evening saw entertainment from male and female prisoners in the form of songs and dancing.(LC)