More prisoners will ‘get away’ if prison management doesn’t shape up – PS Ally

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By Sharda Bacchus

Shardabacchus@newsroom.gy

Prison escapes should not happen if the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are followed and so management have been told to shape up.

“We need to improve operational efficiency. We need to think out of the box,” Andre Ally, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs said Thursday morning as the Guyana Prison Service opened its annual conference in Georgetown.

“A lot of you (officers) are very competent people. You have a wealth of knowledge in the system but you are also accustom of doing things one way because this is the culture of the prison system.

“…If we do that there will be no room for improvement and more people will get away,” Ally stated.

Over the past three years, he said more than $16B has been invested to make the prison service a more professional one while modernising facilities to ensure that inmates as well as the staff are safe and comfortable.

But despite, this Ally said a “gap” exists among prison officers who manage the facilities.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Andre Ally

“We need to look within ourselves, look into the best practices in the world and ask ourselves how we can get there.

“You have a very serious job. A job of keeping this country safe. A job of rehabilitating prisoners. These are the same people when they are finish serving their sentences, they have to be reintegrated into society,” he said.

As such, Ally implored on the prison officers to utilise the training to reflect on their setbacks and to come up with ways in which the system can be improved.

“Think of ways that we can improve the system, communicate that up the chain,” Ally urged.

The Director of Prisons (ag) Nicklon Elliot said with several strategies currently being reviewed, the year 2024 is expected to be a “transformative” one.

“This year’s conference will focus on new managerial and leadership approaches to be adopted in the prison setting: the review of case studies and the Standard Operational Procedures to improve the daily operations and at the same time reviewing best practices and international standards which will align us on the issue of corrections,” Elliot said.

This year’s conference is being held under the theme “Promoting rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners.”

It is aimed at creating synergies at the managerial level of the GPS, reflecting and learning from the activities, accomplishments and challenges of operations in 2023, expanding leadership capacity within the senior arm of the prison service and building cohesive and coherent strategies for the year ahead.

The conference will conclude on Saturday.

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