Guyana Prison Service gets about $11 M in tools for skills training

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn has presented about $11 million worth of vocational tools to the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) to continue the rehabilitation process of prisoners.

At a simple ceremony on Friday, Minister Benn said the tools which were supplied through the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP), will enhance vocational training at prisons across the country.

“We have to take a position based on the losses at the Camp Street Prison and at the Lusignan Prison in terms of retooling and bringing new approaches towards the rehabilitation of persons in the prison system.

“We wanted to build back the shops where vocational training was conducted in and to make sure that we still continue even in this difficult time with respect of the work to rehabilitate prisoners that when they leave the prison, that they would have received the vocational training.”

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn addresses the press alongside Director of Prisons (Ag), Nicklon Elliot

Acting Director of Prisons, Nicklon Elliot who accepted the donation, said the equipment will enhance the “Fresh Start Initiative” which aims to reform prisoners.

“We will continue to expose all prisoners, regardless of their situation, to all forms of retraining programmes within the prison and of course this came at a timely moment because of all of our constraints and this will boost our training capacity.”

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, MP hands over equipment and tools to the Director of Prisons (Ag), Nicklon Elliot

The prison official explained that following a needs assessment, the tools will be distributed across all prisons.

The tools will cater to trades including plumbing, masonry, electrical installation, agriculture, carpentry and joinery and auto-mechanic repairs. 

Further, the CSSP is crafting a Prisons Case Management System to support and manage inmates’ progress, improve record keeping and allow data sharing across agencies. The programme also completed a study of alternatives to incarceration and pre-trial detainees. The study aims to reduce the population of prisoners on remand and overcrowding of prisons.

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