National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has said Vision on Mission's Preparation for Release Programme, which helps reintegrate prisoners into society, is an initiative that is special to him.
At the graduation ceremony for 24 inmates, Hinds urged them to see the programme as a second chance to lead a successful life and become a testimony to others.
“It provides you with inspiration. It provides you the knowledge and the confidence that there is an element of service in shaping your life and shaping your path as you venture outside the walls of this institution.”
Hinds said he was pleased to hear approximately 1,957 inmates have benefited from programmes along these lines, particularly in the Preparation Release Programme.
“The programme is designed to provide cognitive behavioural change and give offenders an opportunity to improve their transition from prison to community.
“This is very important to me as Minister of National Security," he said, and mindful of his responsibility to the population, he would do "all that I can, support all that I can, encourage all that I can towards improving the safety and security of the people of TT.”
Vision on Mission CEO Giselle Chance thanked Hinds and Commissioner of Prisons Deopersad Ramoutar for their continued support to help the initiative thrive.
An emotional Chance recalled the challenges of keeping the programme going during the height of the pandemic.
Over the years, she said 80 per cent of the participants who completed the programme had not been reincarcerated. This was testament to the effectiveness of the structure of the programme.
In 2022, 40 participants started the programme, and 24 graduated.
In 2023 the programme will reportedly see a total revamp, and inmates would have access to additional programmes.
Chance also said prisoners' spouses and children would be offered help to“break the cycle.”
She said Vision on Mission is “steadfast to make an impact on crime” despite challenges and will continue to work towards improving its delivery.
She said the association will continue to collaborate with prisons to ensure its programmes are delivered in a consistent, effective manner to the benefit of the participants
“And we intend to equip potentially 100 inmates from five prisons over the next eight months with as many tools as we can to enable successful re-entry into society upon release.
“The programme will focus on preparing the inmates to seize and maximise positive opportunities that are available to them. These opportunities are not strictly limited to jobs employment, but also in life skills training, education, capacity-building, spiritual and cultivating.
"These upliftment programmes have also been designed to mentally prepare participants to become the best version of themselves, which will lead to their success.”