Fifteen New Corrections Recruits Begin Training

July 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

Fifteen new recruits began a twelve week recruit training programme within the Department of Corrections, Minister of National Security Wayne Caines said in the House of Assembly today [July 13]

In providing a report on the activities of the Department of Corrections during the first and second quarter of 2018, the Minister said, “On 2nd July, 2018, fifteen new recruits began an exciting and rigorous twelve week recruit training programme.

“The training that they will participate during this period includes Security, Drill, Policies and Procedures, Physical Fitness, Self Defence and Health and Safety. It is expected that at the end of the twelve weeks of training the recruits will take part in a Passing Out parade on 11th September 2018.

“The Department also commenced the promotion process for senior officers for the ranks of Divisional Officer, Principal Officer, Chief Officer and Assistant Commissioner. I wish to congratulate Chief Officer Phillip Downie, who was promoted to Assistant Commissioner on 1st June, 2018. The remaining promotions will be announced in the near future.

“The addition of these new recruits, coupled with the recent promotions will assist the Department in strengthening its numbers in order to effectively carry out their mission to ‘Empower Inmates to be Responsible and Productive Citizens.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, this morning I wish to provide this Honorable House with a report on the activities of the Department of Corrections during the first and second quarter of 2018. The Department commenced the fiscal year by implementing their Strategic Plan 2018-20 which incorporates Six [6] goals:

  • i. Effective Rehabilitation Programmes
  • ii. Efficient and Prudent Financial Management, High Standards of Security
  • iii. Operational Efficiency
  • iv. Physical Plant Upgrades
  • v. Staff Development and Training

The strategic plan was rolled out to staff in two phases. The first phase involved all senior and programme staff, whilst the second phase was targeted to all staff. Staff attended a half-day session over a four day period that provided them with information and implementation plans resulting from the new strategic plan.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that on 2nd July, 2018, fifteen new recruits began an exciting and rigorous twelve week recruit training programme. The training that they will participate during this period includes Security, Drill, Policies and Procedures, Physical Fitness, Self Defence and Health and Safety. It is expected that at the end of the twelve weeks of training the recruits will take part in a Passing Out parade on 11th September 2018.

Mr. Speaker, the Department also commenced the promotion process for senior officers for the ranks of Divisional Officer, Principal Officer, Chief Officer and Assistant Commissioner. I wish to congratulate Chief Officer Phillip Downie, who was promoted to Assistant Commissioner on 1st June, 2018. The remaining promotions will be announced in the near future.

Mr. Speaker, the addition of these new recruits, coupled with the recent promotions will assist the Department in strengthening its numbers in order to effectively carry out their mission to “Empower Inmates to be Responsible and Productive Citizens.”

Mr. Speaker, in June 2018, the Department celebrated its 4th annual Corrections Week. Special activities were held during the week including a Senior’s Tea, Staff Appreciation and a bowling night. The week culminated with a church service attended by Corrections Officers.

Mr. Speaker, the primary focus of the Department of Corrections is the care and custody of the inmates. During the first two quarters of this year inmates have engaged in available programmes and activities that are intended to promote and assist them in returning to the community as productive and positive citizens. In addition to the behavior, educational and vocational, core programmes, the inmates continue to work on community projects. Honourable Members will recall the popular annual Kite Making project that provides kites crafted by inmates to local schools for the students. This year inmates also assisted with the annual Agriculture Show in addition to assisting other agencies in the community from time to time.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will recall that five inmates successfully completed the Violence Reduction Programme which commenced in November 2017. The programme is an intervention providing inmates with the requisite skills to reduce their risk of repeated violent behaviour. Inmates had the opportunity to join with their children at pre-Father’s Day and pre-Mother’s Day events. These events allow children to spend extra time with their parents and also assist in further developing parent-child relationships.

Mr. Speaker, inmates have enjoyed monthly presentations from a cross-section of guests who have been invited into Westgate Correctional Facility to have sessions on a variety of topics.

These inmate programmes are an integral part of the rehabilitation process and contribute to Bermuda’s low recidivism rate of 8.96% for 2016-17 as was reported in the 2018-19 Approved Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

Mr. Speaker, to date, the Department has trained 80% of the staff in Defensive Tactics training. Ninety percent of the first-line managers have received management training to assist them in their daily duties. Management training will continue in September.

Mr. Speaker, despite challenges faced by the Department, the Department strives to maintain high standards of security as this is essential to the safe operation of any corrections regime. The Department will begin an internal security review aimed at identifying any areas of weakness and strengthening current security procedures and protocols. It should be noted that our statistics record only one escape from Westgate Correctional Facility since its opening 24 years ago in 1994. Additionally, in comparison to other jurisdictions, the number of major incidents such as riots and deaths in custody is considerably low.

Mr. Speaker, the Acting Commissioner of Corrections and the Senior Management Team take security and safety of staff seriously and have a no-tolerance approach to threats to security. In light of this, a security plan with stringent measures is in place to manage and mitigate the inherent risks that are associated with Corrections. The management and staff remain committed to meeting their objectives of rehabilitation, while ensuring the safety and security of the island’s correctional facilities. On Monday coming, I will be meeting with the Prison Officer’s Association to advance discussions surrounding their recent concerns.

The Ministry of National Security remains committed to working with the Department of Corrections as they implement their strategic plan and continue to strengthen the Department’s operations.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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