Categorized | National News

Prison Reform On The Horizon

Some 90% of the country’s inmates are set to reenter society within the next 10 years, a reality that begs the needs for proper rehabilitation; this is where the Bahamas Parole Re-entrée Steering committee comes in.

The group, whose job is to reduce the rate of recidivism in the country and design a proper parole supervision strategy, led a discussion with senior police officers Thursday morning at the Police Headquarters.

Committee chair and former police commissioner Paul Farquharson stressed the need for a holistic system to be implemented.

“Our focus is on the remedies that extend beyond the courtroom and the prison.

“We all agree that we must find a way to reach out to our young men and women to deter them

From offending and if they’re sentenced reoffended.

“Within the next 10-12 years ninety percent of those persons incarcerated will be coming out.

“Some are coming out tomorrow, some are coming out on Monday, but how are they coming out?” Mr. Farquharson said

Co-Deputy Chairman and retired Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez further noted the need for education to play a key role in this new rehabilitation process.

“In our meeting we had with Mr. Mike Ryan (Head of Canadian Corrections) and looked at some of the measures they’ve put in place in Canada and education is one we feel that will work given our Bahamian context.

“Education has to be given priority, because so many persons in prison aren’t educationally equipped.

“So we are thinking about making it mandatory, that every inmate be exposed to an educational program.

“My view is that we should set the limit at them at least getting their BJC, it will take money to do this but I firmly believe that education does assist many persons from displaying deviant behavior,” Mr. Gomez said

Committee member and attorney Wayne Munroe, QC said the proposed system would force inmates to be more accountable and give the family of victims a voice.

“I think people don’t grasp that the 1/3rd is the 1/3rd meaning that if you give someone thirty years I will be out in twenty.

“That’s the system we have now, prisoners are released without any monitoring or supervision.

“Unaccountable for the decade they have been granted for the privilege of getting out early.

“In The Bahamas we have this habit of not starting an assessment of where we are now, and what we have now is a parole system that is unsupervised.

“The victims of crimes have no say whether you get out or not,” Mr. Munroe said.

The committee plans to submit its official report to the government by late October-early November.







Written by Jones Bahamas

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