Joyce Stone, the deputy commissioner of corrections at the Department of Correctional Services says a major concern for inmates across Jamaica is their diets.
Speaking at a Symposium on Prison Reform hosted by Improved Access (IMPACT) to Justice in the Caribbean, at the St Kitts Marriott Resort, Stone said special considerations are made for elderly inmates, pregnant women and those with non-communicable diseases and other illnesses.
“We also have agriculture. There is Tamarind Farm and Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Centre and I’m proud to say that we have a farm to feed - and we are self-sufficient in poultry meat. That helps us to improve the diet of the inmates, which is a big concern for them,” she said.
Noting that prisoners often complain about their diets, Stone says the Department offsets the cost of food by growing crops.
“We do like 5000 chickens every six weeks and it amounts to a lot of saving for the Department of Correctional Services,” Stone stated during her presentation.
In addition to rearing chickens, the farm consists of a variety of crops including bananas, callaloo, tomatoes and cucumbers.
She added there needs to be greater care in selecting persons to work in Correctional Services.
“[I spoke to] my Chaplin, and what she said impacted me. To work in corrections your heart has to be in it, it’s a tough job, it’s a stressful job, it’s not a popular job, it doesn’t come with any status. I have proposed to the Minister that all the persons who work in the correctional services should at least get basic training before. They don’t have to do the full training of an officer, and that is something that has been adopted by many countries across the world, you must be exposed to some kind of training to work in the correctional facilities,” Stone said.