Over $3m invested in correctional centres' educational programmeFriday, October 25, 2019
Just under $3.2 million in technological upgrades have been made by the Sandals Foundation to improve the educational and skills training tools used by inmates at the island's adult correctional centres.
The upgrades, which were made at the Tower Street and St Catherine Adult correctional centres, the correctional services' radio station ( Free FM) and the two special units, were done in partnership with human rights organisation Stand Up For Jamaica (SUFJ) which operates schools within correctional centres.
All facilities have been furnished with state-of-the-art computer rooms fully equipped with updated programming to assist with the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) and HEART Certification programmes.
“Education provides the greatest opportunity for positive change for individuals and our nations throughout the Caribbean. Today's donation, along with our wider contribution of learning and skills training resources will give inmates a chance to rebuild their lives after incarceration,” Sandals Foundation Executive Director Heidi Clarke said at a handover ceremony at Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in downtown Kingston on October 11.
Clarke said the donation affirms the foundation's strong support for inmate rehabilitation and education at all levels.
Accepting the donation, Commissioner of Corrections Lt Col (Retired) Gary Rowe said the upgrades will enhance the rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates into society.
“In today's information age, technology changes rapidly. Education through technology is the future, and these computers will help the inmates be up-to-date with the changing technology. They will be better prepared for the future and better able to function in society when they are reintegrated,” Rowe said.
The Rehabilitation through Education Programme is aimed at improving adult literacy and educational attainment rates in Jamaica's correctional facilities which continue to be below the national average.
Carla Gullotta, executive director of SUFJ, while expressing gratitude for the donation, noted that education is a tried and proven rehabilitative tool and is used by SUJF to facilitate the reintegration of inmates.
“Low literacy level is a key contributor to criminal behaviour. This donation from the Sandals Foundation is a significant one and will go a long way in enhancing our mission to educate and rehabilitate inmates within Jamaica's correctional centres. We are extremely grateful for the support,” Gullotta said.
The support of inclusive and equitable educational programmes that promote learning opportunities for all members of society is a key component in the work of the Sandals Foundation.
Other investments of the foundation include the provision of tools and material valued at close to $53,000 for a beaded jewellery course under a HEART Trust/NTA programme at the Women's South Camp Road Facility and the December 2018 purchase of textbooks and school supplies valued at $756,000 to be used for the CSEC and remedial learning programmes assisting inmates at Tower Street, St Catherine and Fort Augusta adult correctional centres.