After weeks of public scrutiny and calls for the Home Advancement Program for the Indigent (the HAPI programme) to be scrapped due to reports of convicted inmates not being properly supervised, Minister of Social Transformation Samantha Marshall has spoken out in defense of the initiative.
It has also been alleged that some inmates who work with the HAPI programme and other prison initiatives were being allowed to engage in prohibited activities like sexual intercourse while outside of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP).
The HAPI programme is one of two rehabilitation initiatives currently being used by the government to help prisoners re-integrate into the society. It involves taking the inmates outside the jail to work within the wider society by constructing
homes for the poor and other community-related activities.
Marshall was speaking in the Lower of Parliament on Thursday when she credited the programme for its help in rehabilitating inmates, as well as providing support to the poor and
vulnerable members of society.
She went on further to note that people close to the project give of their own personal time to ensure that the community is assisted and the prisoners, too, are equally committed.
The HAPI initiative was started midway through the first term of the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) administration where over a dozen homes were renovated or built using materials provided either by the government or donors within the corporate community.