State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, is appealing for more corporate entities to partner with the Government in the delivery of various rehabilitation programmes for wards and inmates housed at correctional institutions islandwide.
“With purposeful rehabilitation, successful reintegration of our inmates and wards is possible. We have to continue to find ways to support the effective delivery of rehabilitation programmes and services,” he said.
The State Minister was speaking at the launch of a book drive at the Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Remand Centre in Kingston on Monday (April 23).
Mr. Spencer said the initiative is part of the Government’s thrust to partner with corporate Jamaica in advancing efforts to reduce reoffending.
He praised LMH Publishing, Ian Randle Publishers and the Kiwanis Club of Meadowvale for participating in the initiative by donating 26 boxes of books to the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).
The provisions comprise general reading books; Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) textbooks; remedial and intermediate books; magazines; and novels.
With these, the DCS now has new reading material to serve all 14 correctional institutions – seven adult and four juvenile centres.
Mr. Spencer said the donations were especially significant for the wards, who have been working to improve themselves by taking advantage of opportunities to complete their education.
“It is important for us to understand the crucial role of our youth in, not only our society, but in any society. The youth of today are our future. If we do not teach them, nurture them, respect them and facilitate their growth, what prospects do we have for tomorrow? Even though they have made mistakes, they can be redeemed,” he said.
Additionally, Mr. Spencer said he was pleased that through the donations, the youth housed at the centres islandwide will be have opportunities to further expand their minds.
“For those in the care and supervision of the Department of Correctional Services, I challenge you to make good use of the resources you are given today. Read, be encouraged and expand your horizons,” he said.
Mr. Spencer assured that the Government, with the help of its partners will “do everything that is humanly possible to ensure that when the wards leave (the institutions), they will be better than when they came in”.
“I guarantee they will be better able to make a contribution to the advancement and development of this nation… and I hope this will inspire other organisations to come on board and play their part,” he added.
During Monday’s launch, books were symbolically handed over to the Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Remand Centre.
The launch coincided with World Book Day, an annual event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing and copyrighting.
World Book Day was first celebrated on April 23, 1995.