Benn ‘distressed’ as prison population increases to over 2,000

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The number of people imprisoned across Guyana has increased to just over 2,000 and the Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn believes a culture of peace needs to be embraced across the country.

Benn, who was speaking at an event on Monday, noted that crime is a nuanced problem in Guyana. According to him, poverty, cultural differences and people’s attitudes are among the factors contributing to crime.

And he lamented the increase in the number of people imprisoned.

“I am distressed by the fact that we have had a significant increase in the prison population.

“We’re now over 2,000, when I came it was 1,700 or 1,600,” the Home Affairs Minister told a gathering at the Umana Yana in Kingston, Georgetown.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn greet Prison Officers at the medal ceremony. [Photo: Guyana Prison Service / May 21, 2022]
He did not say what contributed to this increase in the number of people imprisoned.

Based on earlier reports, however, the overall prison population at the end of 2021 stood at 1,889. Then, there was a recidivism rate (the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend) of about nine per cent as per admission for the year and an overall 13 per cent rate.

With this growing number, Benn said that the local law enforcement authorities must become more responsive to the factors that contribute to or influence crime.

“We don’t intend to increase peace by utilising the strong arm of the law- being violent, being disdainful (and) being disrespectful,” he underscored.

And those efforts, he said, are being pursued through numerous programmes and projects. He also said that the ‘One Guyana’ platform espoused by President Dr. Irfaan Ali is a national initiative that offers the country a chance to become more peaceful.

 

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