Categorized | National News

Recidivism Rate Drops

Head of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Superintendent Patrick Wright told reporters yesterday that since he took over as the head of the prison, there has been progress, including a drop in the recidivism rate and zero escapes.

While he didn’t give a figure, Superintendent Wright said the number of ex-convicts returning to prison after being released has shown a noticeable decrease.

He credited that decrease with the steps the Ministry of National Security is taking to change the prison from a punitive, to a correctional facility.

Last October, parliamentarians passed the Correctional Services Bill – legislation designed to transform HMP into The Bahamas Correctional Services.

On Wednesday, the head of Correctional Service Canada Commissioner Don Head was in town to sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines how Bahamian prison officers would now be able to travel to Canada for training.

National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage said at some point, all prison officers will travel for the training.

“This is an opportunity that we expect will change the lives of these prison officers,” he said, “Give them something more to look forward to within their career.”

“This prison has undergone a philosophical shift that emphasises strict security, not in the context of harsh treatment, poor conditions and dehumanisation, but rather, strict security in an atmosphere of empowerment. I’m talking about a different atmosphere that provides opportunity, individual responsibility and institution wide accountability. We believe this formula is working.”

According to Superintendent Wright, the training will vary in length, either three, six or 12 months.

The first two be sent off will be his two deputies Assistant Superintendents Bernadette Murray and Don Cleare.

Supt. Wright said he hopes when the opportunity is presented, he hopes every officer accepts.
“Let me assure you that there is a bright future ahead of all the men and women of this noble institution,” he said.

“You will witness the modernisation of prison service over the coming years. As superintendent of this learning institution to embrace the training because it is necessary to meet the challenges of a correctional institution. I also want them to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented. We have a job to do. The government has already done their part in giving us a Correctional Services Bill. Canada is on board to help us. We have to do this.”

Canada’s correctional facility Chief Don Head said he is impressed with the vision to transform HMP to ensure that when inmates complete their sentence, they come out reformed.

“As prison officers, your contribution to society is a different but great one,” he said.

“If I had to sum up what a correction is in one word, it’s not about security or case management and it’s not about rehabilitation by itself. It’s about people. Every single thing we do in our prison and correctional service is about people. If we lose sight of that, we lose sight of our contribution to public safety in our own jurisdictions.”

The international training will include best practices, hands on training as well as succession planning, according to Supt. Wright.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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