By Theresa Goodwin
A local business owner is providing a unique opportunity to inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison by offering free courses in Information Technology.
The programme, Introduction to Computer is being facilitated by owners of local company, Computer Reset Antigua. It runs for a three-month period and has already produced two sets of successful graduates.
The last batch of successful inmates graduated on Wednesday with an 89.9 percent average.
Prison Superintendent Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Phillip explained that the aim of the programme is to build the capacity of the inmates, some of whom will be able to sit exams administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) in particular subject areas.
Inmates who successfully complete the Introduction to Computer course will eventually move on to an intermediate programme.
In addition to this, the Administrator and Owner of Computer Reset, Winston Abrams, is also facilitating lessons in Mathematics and English Language for the inmates.
“We started that two months ago and the plan is to continue in the New Year. We have seven people that are participating. Prior to the pandemic, we worked with the Ministry of Education to assess the inmates and they were graded in different categories, from three to six. So, we do know at what level our inmates are,” Phillip said.
Speaking to the importance of the sessions, the prison boss said they are designed to boost the academic skills of the participants in order to prepare them for their re-integration into society.
Abrams agreed with the prison head, adding that many of the prisoners have tremendous potential and it is crucial for them to be trained.
“We have to find the resources to invest in training and further education for our inmates to prepare them for life outside of prison, if we do not do that they may be forced to return to a life of crime,” Abrams said.
The busines owner also pointed to the need for a comprehensive programme to specifically deal with the re-habilitation of prisoners in the country.
There are currently 255 inmates at the Her Majesty’s Prison and the head of the institution is hoping that other business owners, with particular skills set will come onboard and provide similar assistance to the prison in the area of training and development.