Additional Training Planned For Prison Officials
NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Government of The Bahamas is moving to secure even greater academic, professional and technical training opportunities for officials of Her Majesty’s Prison under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), Minister of National Security the Hon. O.A. “Tommy” Turnquest said Sunday.
Mr. Turnquest said the move is part of the Government’s “ambitious, but very necessary” Prison Reform agenda that is expected to retool Her Majesty’s Prisons into a facility that is “even more adequate to deal with the new manifestations of crime” and criminality, in addition to the custodial care of inmates.
The National Security Minister said those “new manifestations of crime and criminality” require responses on many fronts, including from Her Majesty’s Prisons which – as part of the law enforcement and national security network of the country – must play a greater role. The additional academic, professional and technical training currently being sought by the Government, he said, will provide officials with the training necessary to make the transformation an effective one.
“Gone are the days when confronting crime was seen as a Police problem,” Mr. Turnquest said. “Today, the nature of crime, particularly violent crime, requires effective responses on many fronts.
“The Prison Reform agenda in which we are engaged is ambitious, but it is necessary as Her Majesty’s Prisons is an integral part of the nation’s security forces which daily responds to matters ranging from prevention, detection and investigation of crime, to apprehending criminals and bringing them to justice; from custody and rehabilitation of offenders to their reintegration into society following their release from prison.
“The new direction the prison is taking in rehabilitating and reorienting inmates, mainly young men in the prime of their lives, enhances the prospects that they will become responsible citizens upon their release,” Mr. Turnquest added.
The National Security Minister said the Government of The Bahamas is consulting its international partners, including the United States of America, regional institutions and professional business entities with regards to the provision of even greater opportunities for academic and skills training for prison officers as part of the initiatives being undertaken within the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBSI).
“Let me emphasise that this training we seek to organise is to benefit all prison officers,” Mr. Turnquest said. “In keeping with this new direction, we have developed a strategic plan to offer further opportunities to officers to upgrade their academic qualifications and professional and technical skills. The focus of this plan is on Prison Management and other disciplines required for an efficiently functioning institution.”
Mr. Turnquest said a new Bahamas Department of Corrections Bill is being revised “to give legal underpinning to what we have accomplished in prison reform and to give direction to prison services in the long term. Prison officials will be allowed to view the Bill before it is introduced to Parliament.
“What we are witnessing is the progressive development of a new mindset at Her Majesty’s Prisons. This new mindset will better position the institution to function more effectively, including as a disciplined force that can be expected to respond to matters of national security,” Mr. Turnquest said.
By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services