Ms. Chanell Browne, a final year University of the West Indies Open Campus student completed her internship at Her Majesty’s Prison with her project practicum that saw her contributing to the enhancement of the prisons’ library.
The motto for her project “Reading for Rehabilitation and Reintegration, she describes was a great success especially since it was inmate initiated.
“I used the participatory approach and assessed the inmate’s needs and interests rather than by the assigned approach.” Research has identified a link between limited education or being a school drop and incarceration; and although some may see prison education as a waste of taxpayers money it is important for the rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates and so has benefits for society at large.
Prison education also reduces boredom, ill-discipline, improves self-esteem, grows empathy all of which have been linked to reductions in recidivism.
Ms. Browne identified the need for an inviting and comfortable space as critical to improved use of the library by inmates and indicates coincidentally. Surprisingly, her supervisor was working on expanding the availability and range of books within the library when she has thrown out what her project was about.
Ms. Browne further stated that the library is a means through which inmates can be empowered and work towards their own rehabilitation and the improved space should encourage more productive use of the library.
The project was also in line with the prisons’ vision which is “To ensure that all inmates leaving the institution return to success through an integrated system of continuous teaching and learning geared towards building skills, self -esteem, and good morals.”
Her project she believes was devised at just the right time and expressed sincere gratitude to her practicum supervisor at the prison, Finishing and Furnishing, prison staff and inmates and other individuals who may have contributed in one way or another. Education is important she believes and reading is a medium through which persons can obtain many skills and information that can contribute to positive development. It is also hoped that projects like these would show persons in a civil society that offenders have the capacity to be rehabilitated and so they too can give of their time through contributing to prison programs.