Bahamas: Prisoner Reform Key To End Jail Crisis

Minister of National Security, The Hon. Marvin Dames

TO solve the issue of overcrowding at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said his ministry is primarily focused on reducing the number of inmates, rather than building additional cells.

Mr Dames made these comments on the sidelines of a law enforcement senior management seminar which was held yesterday at the Hilton.

Mr Dames delivered the seminar’s opening remarks and stressed the need for initiatives to transform the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS) from a penal institution to a corrective facility

He also discussed the importance of improving accommodations for officers.

When asked if there are any current plans to build a new prison, Mr Dames said: “Not so much to build a new prison. I think we need to look first and foremost at whether many of the persons who are currently in there, if there is a need for all of them to be there.

“And so this is why we’re so aggressively pursuing rehabilitation, we’re pursuing parole. And that’s how it works in many of the developed societies or countries,” he continued.

“And more so, we’re looking at certainly development, but…it will be more focused on rehabilitation and those persons who are transitioning back into society; more focused on them and building a structure that will accommodate them and will allow us to really roll out our strategy of rehabilitation.

“And in terms of construction, yes there may be a need, but we’re looking at really reducing the numbers in our institutions as opposed to building more cells to accommodate more persons.”

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