Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 12, 2015 (RSCNPF): A tour the Forensic Services Unit of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force by Prime Minister and Minister of National Security the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, provided the opportunity for the highlighting of skills in carpentry and other construction trades by prisoners at Her Majesty’s Prison.
The spaces once used by another department, have been transformed to facilitate the various work stations of the Forensics Services Unit. “A complete new layout and build-out of the spaces was accomplished in quick time,” said Superintendent Ancil Alexander, Head of the Department.
“All of the work, the carpentry work, with new storage cabinets, new walls separating work spaces, construction of a new room within the space, the concrete wall plastering, the prepping and painting was all done by the prisoners. They did some exceptional work. I’m particularly impressed with their finishing skills, the moulding and the likes,” he added.
Commenting after being informed that most of the rehabilitation work was done by several prisoners, Prime Minister Harris said, “I want to commend them, ..for what is excellent workmanship, it shows again that the idea we are pursuing with regards to rehabilitation of prisoners will bear fruits. What we want is to avoid people coming out of prison from returning, so we want to equip them with skill sets that did not have in order to move on with their lives.”
Prime Minister Harris also appealed to citizens to give those released a second chance. He said, “give them another chance, they have served their penalty in accordance with the law for their crime. So don’t continue to hold the crime for which they have already been punished over their heads.” And added, “we need a new approach to redemption in society that would encourage them to become productive citizens…. allow them to make amends.”
The prison program has been ongoing for years said, Superintendent of Prisons (Ag) Mr. Ashiela Connor. Superintendent Connor explained that “it is a “privilege” program afforded to non-violent prisoners who possess construction trade skills. These prisoners are given the opportunity to participate in work details where their skills can be utilized and where there is opportunity to teach the skill to other interested inmates.” He further detailed, “the program has contributed to work at the Cardin Home for the elderly, the Police Training Centre, various other projects in the Police Headquarters, facilities for Department of Community Affairs and the building of troop housing at the Defence Force Camp.”
According to the Prison Head, “It’s a win-win,” and added, “the Prisoner is active in his skill set and the Government sees cost savings with small jobs at various sites.”