28 inmates benefit from ‘Fresh Start’ initiative – Prison Service
Twenty-eight inmates from various prison facilities have benefitted from the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) ‘Fresh Start’ programme which was first rolled out in 2022.
Coined by Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, the programme aims to reduce criminal recidivism and expand opportunities for occupational training, with a focus on ensuring inmates develop the skills they need to secure jobs after their release.
Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI) recently, the Head of the Prison Service’s Strategic Management Department, Rae-Dawn Corbin-Cameron explained that when an inmate is about to be released, they are gifted with a toolkit to help them earn an income or become entrepreneurs.
“In 2022, which is when the plan was initiated, we would have offered the kits to 12 persons and in the year 2023, we would have targeted a higher number per month, which is about 10 per month. We have offered the kits to 16 individuals thus far,” Corbin-Cameron revealed.
Toolkits are given to inmates for areas such as livestock rearing, welding, electrical installation, plumbing, landscaping and cosmetology among others.
It is important to note, that not every inmate benefits from this initiative as there are specific requirements.
She explained, “We have a criteria list that persons have to qualify for. Of course, after being recommended by training officers at the location they would have been, as well as a custodial officer that can attest to their behaviour, as well as the Officer in Charge of their locations.”
A committee has also been established to determine which inmates will benefit from the programme.
Some $5.5 billion was allocated to the Prison Service as the government aims to transform the service from a penal to a correctional system, by implementing strategic measures to aid inmates’ reintegration into society.
These include training opportunities in hard and soft life skills among others.