Prison officers must play role in reforming inmates – Min. Benn

Prison officers must play a meaningful role in helping to reform prisoners and preparing them for their positive reintegration into society. 

This is according to Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn who reminded them of their important role in maintaining law and order. He said they were called to balance security and control with humanity and justice in the execution of their duties.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn

Minister Benn was delivering the charge to officers at the Director of Prisons’ quarterly muster and general inspection on Monday.

“We must remind ourselves of the mission of the Guyana Prison Service which is to ensure that the prisoners you keep remain in custody and that there are no breakouts … maintaining order, control, discipline and a safe environment for yourself and prisoners is important because when you do that, you are maintaining a safer environment for the entire country, and when you do that, there are benefits … it has very far-reaching effects,” the minister highlighted.

Meanwhile, Director of Prisons, Nicklon Elliot while delivering remarks urged officers to adopt methods to execute their duties with more expertise, accountability, and change.

He also stressed that there is a need to review the current Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Prisons.

Under the theme, ‘Promoting Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Prisoners’, the prison director reminded that the Prison Service has a duty to provide inmates with the necessary information in preparation for their reintegration.

He is adamant that the aim, which is to assist inmates in realising their errors and improving themselves as individuals, must be practiced in both word and deed.

Also, the Deputy Director of Prisons (Ag) and Head of the Staff Training Department, Kevin Pilgrim, emphasised the need for careful selection and thorough training.

To date, some 309 Prison Officers completed 65 courses during the first half of 2023.

The ranks were trained by internal and external facilitators in Prison Management, Human Rights and Supervisory Management. In addition, 250 ranks have been identified for further training.