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Officers reaffirm commitment to prison service

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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CORRECTIONAL officers assigned to the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre in St Catherine on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to the prison service, despite 'difficulties' they have to encounter at times.

The officers made public their declaration at a special 'prayer and praise' service held at the facility.

Staff Officer Thelma Grayson-Linton, who moderated the service held under the theme “I am committed”, said despite difficulties correctional officers faced on a daily basis, they still persist.

At the same time, other officers, through songs of praise and prayers, gave thanks to God for seeing them through 2017 and into the new year.

Commissioner of Corrections Ina Hunter, who reiterated Grayson-Linton's sentiments, encouraged officers to practise daily self-affirmations to build confidence that will help them perform better.

“The literature said that the words of self-affirmation have the ability to rewire the brain by raising the levels of good hormones,” said Hunter, who hailed the hard work of her colleagues.

Meanwhile, Pearnel Charles Jr, state minister in the Ministry of National Security with responsibility for the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), vowed to use the first half of 2018 to focus on correctional officers and their concerns.

“We have officers here who aren't able to see their families, officers who are working overtime and can't see their sons or daughters, so we have to build you up,'' said Charles.

“I know that you do your job with a healthy dose of understanding and that you're honoured servants. But I also know there are times when you feel discouraged and times when you feel frustrated,” said Charles, amidst shouts of 'yes!' from the officers.

Charles added that he had several plans for the correctional institution, including the setting up a town hall.

“This town hall will not be about inmates because a lot of the [previous] discussions I've had has been centred around inmates but this town hall will be solely about our staff,” he added.

“We also have a number of activities that we hope will build a better framework for the DCS, such as identifying rehabilitation officers and stepping up the transformation of our organisational structure,” said Charles.

— Deandra Morrison

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