$100M to train prisoners to prepare for their exit from jail

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Prison Cell Bars

With a total of $5.5 billion earmarked for the Guyana Prison Service in 2023, some $100 million is projected to be injected into the training of inmates to prepare for their exit from the prison system.

This was announced by Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh on Monday during the presentation of the national budget for 2023.

It was revealed that in 2022, 1,400 inmates were trained in areas such as block making, basic agriculture and culinary arts among others, at a cost of $88.9 million.

“It is anticipated that in 2023, a further sum of $100 million will be expended towards the training of 1,500 inmates which will support their rehabilitation and social transformation in preparation for their exit from the prison system,” Dr Singh explained.

Furthermore, a sum of $50 million is allocated to ensure “trade shops” at these facilities are fully equipped to facilitate training in carpentry, joinery, masonry, block making, baking, cooking and other craft and trade activities to allow inmates to acquire life skills so that they can seamlessly re-integrate into society and prevent recidivism.

The Finance Minister added that the government will also ensure that the Prison Service is staffed with qualified and competent officers, with the necessary skillset to allow them to effectively navigate this complex environment.

To this end, he said the government will invest in prison management training for over 400 prison personnel this year.

According to the Finance Minister, the government’s overall reform and modernisation programme for the Prison Service targets the transformation of the prison service from a penal to a correctional service, which promotes an environment where custodial safety is assured, and inmates are rehabilitated and successfully reintegrated into society.

“To this end, $5.5 billion was spent in 2022,” Dr Singh revealed.

Moreover, he said $2.4 billion was expended to begin sweeping upgrades to the various correctional facilities.

In this regard, a further $2.2 billion is budgeted in 2023 to advance prisons being constructed at Mazaruni and Lusignan, and to commence work for the reconstruction of New Amsterdam prison.