NASSAU, The Bahamas – Superintendent of Her Majesty’s Prison Dr Elliston Rahming called on correction facilities in the Caribbean to become part of the solution and not the problem to the escalating crime rate.
He was addressing the official opening ceremony of the Association of Caribbean Heads of Corrections and Prison Services Fourth Annual Conference on Monday, June 21, 2010 at SuperClubs Breezes, Cable Beach.
The weeklong conclave is being held under the theme: “Meeting the Challenges of Corrections in 2010 and Beyond: A Caribbean Perspective”. It was officially opened by Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette. Also present was Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes.
Dr Rahming told delegates from around the Caribbean that the conference could not have happened at a more opportune time.
He said the Caribbean is “bedevilled by crime and buffeted by violence” and historically, the penal system was seen as part and parcel of the problem.
“The ACHCPS rejects that notion. We see ourselves as part of the solution. If we are going to ameliorate the vexing levels of violence, we must come to see corrections as integral, not tangential to the solution to crime.
“Corrections is not just about control and containment. We are equally engaged in the business of crime prevention via ongoing staff development, proper sentence planning, rehabilitation programmes and successful reintegration of offenders,” he said.
Described as a daunting task, Dr. Rahming said under the ACHCPS, the association is closer toward harmonizing its approach to reducing re-offending through best practices in corrections and rehabilitation services.
Participants discussed strengthening of laws, polices and principles, and to bring about institutional and other change. Other initiatives are to build and maintain productive and effective networks and partnerships, both regionally and internationally, which the ACHCPS advocates.
Countries represented included The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines.