Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 16, 2018 (SKNIS): The rehabilitation programme at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) in St. Kitts is having success as the number of convicted repeat offenders is trending downwards and currently stands at 43 persons.
Statistics revealed by Acting Superintendent of Prisons, Asheila Connor, show that by the end of 2013 the prison population stood at 367, while 106 were previously convicted of a crime. Repeat convictions fell to 82 persons in 2014, stood at 66 in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and stands at 43 repeat offenders in 2018 to date.
Mr. Connor shared the information on Tuesday (May 15) at a ceremony marking the donation of tools and equipment to assist with the rehabilitation of residents at the correctional facility. The items were donated by the Regional Security System (RSS) via the European Union’s 10th European Development Fund (EDF) which included sewing machines, saws, desktop computers, and wireless routers.
The senior prison official expressed gratitude for the donation and noted that society and parents in particular, need to do more to deter children from entering a life of crime.
“Most homes are single parent homes and have mothers as the head of the household [who] have to go to work,” Mr. Connor said, noting that children may then be left to their own devices or are supervised by an older child who struggles to influence their behaviour.
He pointed out that during these unsupervised periods, children are more at-risk to get involved in antisocial activities such as drinking alcohol, using drugs or joining a gang. After school activities such as home work assistance programmes, skills development classes, and household chores were all cited as ways to positively engage the young people.
“If we shift to the area of prevention, we won’t have to be finding money to build these big prisons … because the prison population will be going downwards and there will be no need for state-of-the-art prisons that cost millions of dollars,” Mr. Connor added.
The government currently has a number of initiatives that support the holistic development of young people including the Teens and Police Service (TAPS) Academy, the Explorers Groups, the National Youth Volunteer Corps, and the 25 Most Remarkable Teens Awards in St. Kitts and Nevis. The acting superintendent of prison challenged the business community, and other private interests to find community programmes that they can partner with or to create a project or a suitable environment where the Federation’s youth can spend time contributing to national development.
There are currently 205 inmates at HMP to date.