Plans are afoot to transform the Lusignan Prison into a central prison facility complete with several sections focused on reforming criminals, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo announced on Wednesday.
Dr. Jagdeo, during an online interview, stated that those are plans are part and parcel of the government’s promise to address the root causes of crime and prevent recidivism.
“Crime is a very emotive issue and we hope that we can rise to the challenge quickly,” the VP said.
“Apart from the tough law enforcement reform, prison reform is next in line [and] so we are building three safe, decent prisons at Lusignan that can accommodate a thousand prisoners.
“That means we can practically move most of our prisoners to Lusignan [and] we are putting money aside to build a prison for women, but in another area of Lusignan,” Dr. Jagdeo announced.
The Vice President added that given the high rate of repeat offenders in Guyana, much focus will be placed on equipping inmates with the necessary life skills so that they can be reintegrated into society.
“So, we have an entire compound [and] plan to do recreational facilities there, a school there that you have to, once you become a prisoner, you have to go to school. It’s compulsory. Then we’ll build a training school so that people can learn a skill. We are going to take rehabilitation seriously.”
But while this is so, Dr. Jagdeo noted that government is aware that some “seasoned criminals” are beyond reformation and they will be dealt with by the full force of the law.
“There are some criminals, even with a job you wouldn’t be able to influence them because it’s a lure of crime and the lucrative nature is too great and those you have to deal with condignly….forcefully.”
“Outside of that, there are lots of people that we can work on….communities, young people, giving others more jobs and that is why job-creating initiatives are so important to us, even with this pandemic we have been working heavily on putting people back to work,” Dr. Jagdeo said.
The government had allocated $5 billion to be pumped into the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) to complete prison upgrades across the country and train inmates.
Apart from the other minor initiatives, it is presumed that the bulk of that will go towards completing the rehabilitation, construction and upgrades of prisons across Guyana.