The new man at the helm of the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) has highlighted the need for a balanced approach to corrections, as selected male inmates participated in a conflict resolution workshop last week.
Verne Garde, a former Director of Corrections, took up the post again recently.
“Some of the things we have to do – is balance our approach to corrections. It cannot be an institution that totally believes in reinforcing behaviour without balancing it with proper recreation and psychosocial interventions,” Garde explained.
He revealed that almost ninety-five percent of the 526 BCF inmates are men, a disproportionate ratio to the general population.
Garde said the disparity underscored the need for agencies like the St. Lucia Crisis Centre to assist the BCF in addressing the needs of male inmates.
The Crisis Centre and the Department of Probation and Parole partnered with the BCF in organising the inmate conflict management workshop last week as part of International Men’s Day observances.
The workshop followed a recent unprecedented seizure of inmate contraband, including 31 ‘cell made’ weapons.
Garde said there was an overwhelming response from the estimated 50 male inmates to the conflict management session.
And he said the BCF planned to pass the workshop information on to the entire male prison population.
Garde told reporters that a rigourous process that took behavioural assessment and other issues into account selected the remand and penal inmates who attended the workshop.
He also disclosed that the BCF had several upcoming events in addition to daily one-on-one interaction with inmates.
Those upcoming activities include Literary Day and a music symposium.
In addition, Garde spoke of plans to revamp the BCF’s agriculture programme.
He praised the Catholic relief, development and social service organisation, CARITAS, and the Catholic Church, explaining that they had made a large contribution of farming items.
“I am sure that within the next six to nine months, the Bordelais farm will be restored to what it should be and what was envisaged,” Garde told reporters.