Time for a First-World prison

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION -

THE EDI­TOR, Madam:

IT’S TIME that a prison of First-World stan­dard is built in Ja­maica, with the pri­mary fo­cus placed on the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of in­mates, no mat­ter how long or how short their sen­tences.

Not be­cause Ja­maicans are serv­ing time in a prison fa­cil­ity, for a crime or crimes com­mit­ted, does it mean that their time there should be mis­er­able, un­com­fort­able and, in some cases, un­bear­able. They are still hu­man be­ings and they should be treated as such.

Imag­ine a prison fa­cil­ity with a foot­ball field, a swim­ming pool, a ten­nis court, and/or a bad­minton court. Imag­ine a prison with sta­teof-the-art com­puter equip­ment to fa­cil­i­tate teach­ing and learn­ing. Imag­ine a prison with hun­dreds or thou­sands of books to fa­cil­i­tate and mo­ti­vate the res­i­dents to read. Imag­ine a prison fa­cil­ity with fur­ni­ture-mak­ing and weld­ing classes, with all the tools nec­es­sary for the res­i­dents to learn, prac­tise and pro­duce out­stand­ing fur­ni­ture and/or met­al­works. Imag­ine a prison fa­cil­ity with a room ded­i­cated to teach­ing the res­i­dents to paint on can­vas and to pro­duce wood, al­abaster, and/ or metal sculp­tures.

If/when pris­on­ers’ sen­tences are up or if they re­ceive pa­role, when they rein­te­grate into so­ci­ety, they would be more knowl­edge­able, as a re­sult of their read­ing, and far more qual­i­fied to get jobs and, hope­fully, one day, with gov­ern­ment and/or pri­vate­sec­tor sup­port, start their own busi­nesses.

Imag­ine a prison fa­cil­ity with a proper, com­fort­able area for the rel­a­tives and friends of prison res­i­dents to meet, once per week, for an hour, to talk and spend time to­gether.

Ja­maica should build its own prison, as op­posed to re­ceiv­ing a handout from one or more coun­tries to do so.

PA­TRICK GALLIMORE

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