Jamaica News: The Ministry of National Security has reopened the Howard Pre-release Hostel, which will house qualified, low-risk inmates for up to 18 months, while they make their transition back into society.
Located at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in Kingston, the dormitory- like facility has the capacity to accommodate 40 men.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Tuesday (January 8), Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, said the hostel enables inmates who are deemed suitable for placement to have positive and productive interactions.
They will be provided with food, medical care and counselling, and engaged in religious and recreational programmes.
Mr. Spencer said the objective is to ensure that when the inmates are released “the possibility of reoffending is almost eliminated”.
“You have proven that you are ready, but all the checks and balances must be made. So one more step in the chain of events is that we are going to have you here and we are going to watch how you react, watch how you reintegrate, watch how you treat with others in the hostel. That’s a good measure that will tell us if you are truly ready… . Gentlemen, don’t let us down,” he implored them.
Commissioner of Corrections, Ina Hunter, noted that nine persons are currently housed in the hostel.
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“We are starting small and building out. We have to also consider the selection criteria and that these are short-term stays – persons who are ending their sentences – and it is not beyond 18 months,” she pointed out.
She said the money was provided by the Government to refurbish the facility. The scope of work included roof and general repairs, refurbishing of the staff quarters, and replacement of the wooden staircase with metal to ensure durability.
Deputy Commissioner, Custodial Services, Department of Correctional Services (DCS), Joyce Stone, said the hostel was originally opened in 1980 and refurbished in 2011 under the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders and Deported Persons programme.
It was reopened in 2012 and was fully operational before the programme was suspended due to lack of qualified inmates for uptake based on the changing security environment and eligibility criteria.
“This prompted the… review and amendment of the Standard and Operational Procedure Manual related to hostel management,” she said, noting that the main buildings also required extensive repairs.
Ms. Stone said the hostel operates under strict guidelines, with the aim of protecting the public.
Source: JIS News