Career & Education

Security ministry, HEART Trust/NTA partner to help rehabilitate inmates

Sunday, November 26, 2017

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T he second of two cohorts of correctional officers from the Department of Correctional Services has started training under the HEART Trust/NTA's Train the Trainer project aimed at equipping them to deliver National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) programmes to inmates and wards within the island's correctional facilities.

The training, which is being facilitated under a Memorandum of Understanding among the Ministry of National Security, HEART Trust/NTA and the Department of Correctional Services, saw 32 correctional officers trained in Competency Based Education Training (CBET) valued at $1.2 million. The first cohort of 15 officers was trained and deployed in each respective skill area in March 2017, while the training of an additional 17 officers started on November 20.

In her remarks at the opening ceremony of the second Train the Trainer exercise, Dr Janet Dyer, acting managing director of the HEART Trust/NTA noted that the MoU had yielded very positive outcomes to date.

“Out of this agreement we have exposed over 250 inmates and wards to skills such as business, mixology and beaded jewellery making and we anticipate that furniture-making, vegetable crop producing and data operations will be added to the list in the near future,” Dr Dyer said.

She explained that the Train the Trainer project allows the correctional officers to be more involved in the expansion of various technical vocational skills and, in turn, provide greater enhancement to the rehabilitative process.

Dr Marc Thomas, project manager with direct responsibility for the programme at the Ministry of National Security, said the ministry is working diligently to reduce the rate of reoffending and recidivism. He pointed out that 60 per cent of the inmates within the island's correctional institutions are lacking basic reading and writing skills.

“We want to make sure that these inmates leave the institution with a skill. When they are in a position to earn and provide for themselves and their families, they will be less likely to return to a life of crime,” Dr Thomas said.

State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr noted that inmates and wards must be included in the vision of an educated Jamaica and said the objective of the programme is to strengthen the capacity of correctional officers to transform the lives of inmates.

The Train the Trainer programme is part of the High School Diploma Equivalency programme and is designed to train and certify the correctional officers who, in turn, will deliver NVQ-J certifiable programmes to inmates and wards islandwide.

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