Programme to help former inmates reintegrate into society launched
A programme aimed at making sure former inmates are properly reintegrated into society after completing their sentences was launched on Thursday at the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre, by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).
The programme which is dubbed ‘Imagine Me’ is geared towards addressing the cognitive and emotional needs of inmates, before reintegration into society.
The programme, which runs for 12 weeks, was implemented from a partnership between the DCS and the Department for International Development (DFID). It focuses on empowering inmates while enabling them to identify training and employment opportunities just before the completion of their sentences.
“Focus areas include the importance of optimism, self-esteem and self-care, emotional intelligence, stress management, mental health, sexual health and technical and vocational training,” the DCS said in a statement.
Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Rudyard Spencer, lauded the conceptualisation of the rehabilitation programme.
“I am pleased to say that we are making strides in our efforts to transform and rehabilitate offenders which will contribute to the creation of a safer Jamaica. Our focus is to explore all available opportunities with the private sector and our regional and international partners so that offenders can leave better than they came in,” Spencer said.
For his part, Commissioner of Corrections, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gary Rowe said: “At the department, we not only focus on educating the inmates and teaching them technical and vocational skills, we are also addressing the cognitive behavior of inmates and fixing the psychosocial problems that contribute to recidivism”.
One inmate was full of praise for the programme.
“I am really happy for this programme and the case managers present here. It is good to have a listening ear. With their help, I am now identifying more positive ways to improve my life”, he said.
‘Imagine Me’ will be facilitated by case managers and correctional officers from DCS with training in risk assessment, psychology, psychosocial therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and social work. It is one of the several avenues utilised by the DCS to reduce recidivism and ensure successful reintegration of offenders.