$1m saved under prison farm programme

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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MINISTER of state in the Ministry of National Security Rudyard Spencer says projects being implemented by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) have proven to be sustainable and have contributed to savings.

He cited the Agricultural Self-Sufficiency Programme, which has realised savings of approximately $1 million during the period December 2017 to March 2018 as inmates and wards continue to produce portions of the food they consume.

Currently, inmates at all correctional institutions, with the exception of Horizon Adult Remand Centre, are engaged in agricultural production.

“This is encouraging, and we will continue to seek avenues that will result in greater cost savings,” he noted, while addressing the opening of the Association of Caribbean Heads of Corrections and Prison Services (ACHCPS) Conference 2018 at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday.

“In a context of fiscal constraint, where every dollar counts and every decision must demonstrate value for money, I want to commend the Department of Correctional Services for the strides they have made in this area,” he added.

The state minister told the conference delegates that inmates at the nation's correctional facilities are being taught marketable skills, increasing opportunities for earning upon their release.

“In our facilities we have wards who have passed six and seven subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level, and former wards who are pursuing tertiary education. This speaks to their vast potential,” he pointed out.

He informed further that through partnership with the Organization of American States, more than 1,460 juvenile remandees and offenders and approximately 160 DCS staff are benefiting from 'A New Path' project, aimed at providing strategies and tools to deal with challenging behaviour.

The four-day ACHCPS conference is being held from June 11 to 14 under the theme 'Transforming Prisons and Correctional Services for Regional Development'.

The mission of ACHCPS is to promote the professional development of all personnel involved in various facets of corrections, while striving to ensure that the best policies and procedures are in place to meet the needs of the corrections/prison environment in individual countries and the region as a whole.

This year's conference brings together approximately 22 member countries from across the Caribbean as well as representatives from the International Corrections and Prisons Association and guests from the Netherlands, United States and Namibia.

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