Prisoners on remand at HMP Dodds are now being allowed access to rehabilitation programmes, Superintendent of Prisons Lieutenant Colonel John Nurse has revealed.
And he suggested that even though the prison was playing its part in helping to reduce recidivism, certain communities in Barbados were responsible for offenders ending up back behind bars.
He made the point during the release of the findings of a study on criminal victimization and fear of crime in at-risk communities at the UWI Graduate Studies department on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Nurse said the prison had moved away from the practice of providing rehabilitation only for those persons who had been convicted and serving sentences at the St Philip penal institution.
He said: “Those on remand now get the same level of rehabilitation as those convicted.
“As it relates to the evaluation of the effectiveness of our programmes we look at that annually… but the problem with it, however, is that to gauge the effectiveness of the programmes it must speak to the level of reintegration into the community, the same communities that we are discussing right now as being at-risk communities which have significant problems.”
The prison chief said there was a need for these communities to work hand-in-hand with the prison.
He also called for the reintegration process to be started much earlier.
Lt. Col. Nurse said: “So if you’re not being successfully reintegrated in the way that we wish you to be, meaning productive citizens, it means that the rehabilitation programmes have failed, technically speaking.
“However, is it really the programme that has failed or is it the environment that you put the reformed person back into? So how do you now determine the true failure?
“You really can’t blame the rehabilitation programme which has prepared a person but the environment that they went back into was not receptive, or is what caused the problem in the first place.”
His suggestion was embraced by senior research officer at the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit, Kim Ramsay, who acknowledged that the prison could not work in a vacuum.
Ramsay said: “I believe we need to have the two working together…but that is easier said than done.
“The prison needs to have the community involved, but the challenge with communities is that a lot of people do not want to have the offender back into their society and into their community, especially if the person committed murder or something like that. You need the support systems.”