1,520 inmates gained skillsets to aid reintegration into society – GPS

The government is committed to reducing recidivism and through the Guyana Prison Service (GPS), it has implemented a range of programmes across their five prison locations to aid inmates reintegration into society.

The programmes vary and are focused on developing prisoners’ skills by offering vocational training and promoting economic and social activities that benefit both inmates and their families.

For 2023, a total of 1520 inmates across Guyana completed training in various technical and vocational skills, which aligns with the Prison Service’s goal of facilitating smooth integration into society.

Several programmes were conducted simultaneously at each location; however, more emphasis was placed on literacy, family reconciliation, anger management, culinary arts, food and nutrition, domestic violence, men on a mission (MOM) sessions, citizenship, carpentry and joinery, welding, masonry, plumbing, animal and crop husbandry, information technology, and agriculture.

According to a release from the GPS, the Sentence Planning Unit conducted a thorough assessment of each inmate’s needs, followed by the Sentence Management Board’s approval, to ensure that training programmes were tailored to individual needs.

The Prisoners’ Welfare and Correctional Officer, Tassa McGarrell, explained that the department is aware of the need for programmes that meet inmates at their level which is why vocational, academic and behavioural training programmes are offered. Inmates are carefully assessed to determine their suitability for each programme.

During the implementation of vocational training programmes, inmates are recommended for the Fresh Start Kit. Training programmes are executed through collaborative efforts by various ministries, and internal and external facilitators.

Director of Prisons, Nicklon Elliot, noted that the training is part of the implementation of the national strategy of demilitarization of prisons in Guyana. He noted too that the prison service is transitioning from penal to correctional, and the focus is on building partnerships with the private sector to offer inmates the opportunity to meet the growing demand for labour.