Prison Service launching ‘Public Education Program’ to end stigma against ex-prisoners

GUYANA, GINA, Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Acting Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels said that the Guyana Prison Service will soon be launching a public education programme to help remove the stigma attached to ex-prisoners. This was disclosed during an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA).

Samuels said the move was prompted due to the discrimination that ex-prisoners experience when seeking jobs. The program will be launched via a television series where inmates will be given the opportunity to share with the public the training opportunities they are exposed to while in confinement.

Director of Prisons (ag) Gladwin Samuels

“We will be utilising the inmates to allow them to sensitise members of the public why they should not find themselves committing offences that would lead them to come to prison” Samuels explained.

The acting Director pointed out that, many times what people know about the prison is what they would have heard from uninformed persons or what they would have seen on television via movies. He is of the opinion that once the general public is better educated about what goes on inside the prisons, ex-prisoners would be allowed to contribute meaningfully to society, without being stigmatised.

Samuels said that persons in prison are exposed to both literacy and skills training. Some of the skills training include masonry, carpentry, joinery, electrical installation and landscaping.

While there is still some percentage of recidivism, Samuels stated that ,“our records will show that several persons who would have entered prison and having being exposed to rehabilitative training they have not returned to prison”.

The program will not only educate the public but also create awareness and some level of guidance to potential offenders, so they can learn from the experiences of prisoners, Samuels noted . The acting Director stressed that the main mandate of the Guyana Prison Service is to ensure prisoners are rehabilitated and properly reintegrated into society upon release.


By: Isaiah Braithwaite