Jamaica News: The National Security Ministry and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) have signed a second memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the HEART Trust/NTA to continue and expand the vocational training and certification of DCS staff, wards and inmates.
The agreement, which commences on October 3, 2018 and expires on May 31, 2020, will also provide technical support for the ‘We Transform’ programme, including the training of mentors.
We Transform links wards under the care and supervision of the DCS with positive, caring role models, who will help them overcome their personal risk factors and guide them through the process of resocialisation, transformation and reintegration into their communities.
Funding for the partnership will come from the operational budget of the HEART Trust, with the Ministry and the DCS to provide monitoring and coordination.
Addressing the signing ceremony at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices in Kingston on October 3, State Minister for National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, said, the provisions under the MOU will change people’s lives.
He noted that the development of inmates and wards is a priority of the Ministry.
“We are on a journey of creating a set of people who [upon] their release will be going back into their communities; some might even be going on to tertiary institutions. We are sure that they will be better coming out than when they are going in… . As much as we can, we have an obligation to assist these people,” he said.
First signed by the three entities in December 2015, the MOU has an overarching aim of empowering inmates and wards with the skill sets to become productive, self-sufficient citizens upon their release.
Commissioner of Corrections, Ina Hunter, informed that under the initial agreement, approximately 700 inmates benefited from training, and 153 DSC staff were certified in various areas.
She noted that 63 correctional officers received a diploma in business management, and 12 have received Level 1 certification in air conditioning and refrigeration.
Mrs. Hunter expressed appreciation for the opportunity to expand the training and certification of staff and inmates under a new MOU.
She said that the signing “signals a more strategic and far-reaching approach in responding to the needs of offenders and building the capacity of staff to deliver our mandate”.
For his part, Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA, Edward Gabbidon, said that “this agreement is very special because it [enables us] to help reform those who have been incarcerated and also the people who work with them”.
“The Board of Management of HEART is focused on “uplifting, empowering and providing lifelong skills, so that people will be able to learn, earn and give back to society,” he added.
Source: JIS News