Recidivism rates reduced by 3 per cent in 2022 – Prisons director

The rate at which convicted criminals recommitted an offence – recidivism − in Guyana dropped from 13 per cent in 2021 to 10 per cent in 2022, Director of the Guyana Prison Service (GPS), Nicklon Elliot has revealed.

During the handing over ceremony for $30 million worth of Information Communications Technology (ICT) from the Inter-American Development Bank earlier this week, Elliot credited the reduction to a cooperative effort at the leadership level.

Director of the Guyana Prison Service (GPS), Nicklon Elliot

“[The reduction] is quite remarkable, because of the number of activities that are ongoing at the ministerial level and the governmental level, and of course by extension, our strategic plan which drives this effort,” he said.

In 2022, the Home Affairs Ministry launched a programme aimed at upskilling prisoners, in order to reduce chances of them returning to prison after their release.

The $88.9 million programme, dubbed ‘Increasing the Peace in Guyana’ saw 1,400 inmates receiving skills training, in a number of areas including anger management, literacy and numeracy, and tailoring.

Elliot said the Prison Service’s aim for this year is to ensure that all categories of prisoners are exposed to the various types of programmes made available through the GPS.

“Our general focus will be towards addressing holistically the rehabilitation efforts in prison, and externally to promote the reintegration aspect. Because we realise the stigma and discrimination is still there, we are working closely with our community partners and their family support bases, to ensure that when these prisoners receive this training and they go back out there, that their coping mechanisms should prevent them from committing those particular crimes,” he explained.

He also encouraged the private sector to assist in the rehabilitative efforts of the government through the GPS.