Put our prisoners to work
I have noticed over the years that it is customary for clearing and bushing work to be done during the Christmas season. Despite the best of efforts the allocations given to the members of Parliament and/or councillors are never enough for this work to be done everywhere.
Many areas that need to be cleaned are left out and various reasons are given for this. There are those who are of the view that they are being politically victimised as this occurs year after year and they are deliberately left out of the job offeriengs because of their political persuasion. Others believe that the money to do this has never been and will never be enough to completely do the job of clearing and bushing all the areas that need this kind of attention.
I am of the view that we should put the job of maintaining some drains and the bushing of some areas, particularly those that the allocation cannot reach, to the persons that are incarcerated.
If we put our prisoners to work in this way we would realise a few major advantages. First and foremost, we would get more work done. Secondly, we would definitely get some returns for the resources being used to provide food, shelter and the constant supervision of the persons that are in prison. Thirdly, the Government could also use this measure to reduce expenditure to some extent.
Members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), who are inactive for the most part, can serve as supervisors while the prisoners are working. In fact, they could set up another battalion for this specific purpose. The members of the JDF are paid by the State whether they have an assignment or not. Most of the time they are only called to serve during a time of extreme crisis. So let us utilise their services in this regard.
It is imperative that we gain sufficient return for the investments we make. Let us then ensure that we get from the resources utilised to maintain our prisoners, if not maximum benefit, at least equal return.