Mandeville Weekly News


Posted by SR (riley) on Mar 11 2017 at 1:36 AM
Mandeville Weekly News >>

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.Minister of State in the Ministry, Pearnel Charles Jr., says offering educational programmes to persons in juvenile confinement, prisons or at-risk social groups is a fundamental component to the rehabilitation process and the fight against crime.

Minister Charles argues 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, noting 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,” Minister 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,” Minister Charles explained.

The State Minister said 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 said.

The State Minister noted that it is easier to govern an educated man or woman, because that person should be able to read and understand Government policies and the rationale behind laws. For his part, Executive Director of JFLL, Mr. 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.”

Mr. Hibbert informed 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,” Mr. Hibbert says.

Director of Educational Services at the JFLL, Ms. Rhoda Crawford, says the agency is very excited about the partnership, adding that the synergy will significantly advance the justice reform programmes.  “I am encouraged by the Ministers’ desire to get things started and the support and commitment from the Ministry to assist us (JFLL) in implementing this life changing opportunity for the inmates and juveniles,” she says.Ms. Crawford notes that the MOU will allow the agency to engage over 4,000 persons from various groups by offering “adult basic mastery in literacy and numeracy and adult secondary education, high school equivalency to those individuals who want a second chance.”