Inmates to benefit from MoU to be signed by Security Ministry, JFLL

Sunday, March 05, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Ministry of National Security and the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to offer educational opportunities to inmates and other interest groups.
State Minister in the Ministry, Pearnel Charles Jr, said offering educational programmes to individuals in juvenile confinement, prisons or at-risk social groups is a fundamental component to the rehabilitation process and the fight against crime.
He argued that this can have a direct impact on the country’s rate of recidivism and ultimately crime, adding that education behind bars means a greater likelihood of post-release employment, stability and independence for the individual.
“One of the core areas of focus in the ‘Rehabilitation for Reintegration’ agenda is to ensure that all inmates and wards leave our institutions literate and better than when they went in,” the State Minister said.
He noted that the JFLL has had tremendous success in empowering adult learners to become literate through the many programmes they have, and he is confident the inmates will grasp the opportunity.
“Many of our inmates and wards are thirsty to learn and if we intend to abate the cycle of violence, it makes sense to invest in them, hence this MoU,” Charles said.
“The programme is a practical initiative with clear results. It will help us to see them move from basic literacy to obtaining high school level certification. Many of the inmates have skills but are weak in reading. This project is to help them make the transition to literacy and HEART vocational programmes,” he explained.
The State Minister added that one of the primary objectives of the ministry is to ensure that persons doing time are prepared for success upon release and to help them reintegrate, get jobs, provide for their families and ultimately stay away from crime.
“Correctional education is a cost effective initiative. Every dollar spent on prison education, juvenile centre or at-risk youth groups could save the country millions in fighting crime and prevent re-incarceration,” he noted.
For his part, Executive Director of JFLL, Worrel Hibbert, said the MoU will be signed  with the view of equipping the adult learner with knowledge, skills and the attitude that will make him or her “empowered to achieve their fullest potential.”
He added that the JFLL is eager to enter the partnership agreement with the Ministry and the Department of Correctional Services to offer a “second chance” to the youngsters in juvenile detention facilities, individuals who take part in community intervention programmes and inmates housed in correctional facilities across the island.
“We want to pay more attention to the literacy programmes that are available in our prisons and correctional centres,” Hibbert said.

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