Employment major concern for prisoners: Inmates Association meets Minister of Justice

POSTED: 09/10/14 7:35 AM

St. Maarten (DCOMM) – Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson met recently with the Inmates Association at the prison in Pointe Blanche. The prison director, social workers, and a representative of the Penitentiary Supervisory Committee (Commissie van Toezicht Gevangeniswezen) were also present for the discussion.

The Inmates Association that represents all the inmates requested the meeting.  The discussions focused on the role of the Penitentiary Supervisory Committee, the Windward Islands Probation Service (Stichting Reclassering Bovenwindse Eilanden), and the rules pertaining to early release.

All incarcerated prisoners will receive a copy of the rules and regulations of the House of Detention, which will also be translated in French and Spanish.

The Inmates Association also raised its concerns about prisoners having problems finding a job after they are released.

Employers increasingly ask for a certificate of good conduct which ex-prisoners cannot get. The Minister of Justice said that he is aware of this problem and in his opinion in accordance with the law only convictions should be considered which are relevant for the position within a company that the person is applying for.

Already application forms for a “police report” – as it is popularly called – have been redesigned to accommodate this policy.

The Inmates Association also wanted to know when the new penal code would take effect because of its provisions on early release of prisoners.

The Minister of Justice envisioned that the new Penal Code will enter into force by the end of this year.

In a follow up meeting, among other things, the quality of food, medical needs, and rehabilitation programs will be addressed, the Ministry said.

 

 

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