Rodriguez: ‘The facts behind prison walls’
June 25, 2010
Rodriguez: ‘The facts behind prison walls’

Efforts are being made within the walls of the Her Majesty’s Prisons to change the negative perception the general public has of the institution.{{more}}

“We are trying to enact change, but change is not easy,” Eric Rodriguez, Superintendant of Prisons, said during the closing ceremony of a training exercise for new Prison Officers last Thursday, June 17.

“So often we tend not to endeavour into unchartered waters – but our goal is to train and mentor,” he continued.

“The prison service has come from really rotten roots, and over the years we have been trying and striving because the mentality of Vincentians is that the prison service is nothing but rotten roots.”

However, Rodriguez said that he resented this ideology.

“What we have is about the best we can offer,” he said.

Last Thursday’s ceremony was the culmination of five weeks of training for the new recruits, and according to the prison service’s top official, the focus was now on guiding and mentoring the new recruits.

Featured speaker, Dr Lennox Adams, spoke of the need for officers to remain focused and to adhere to the skills and knowledge acquired during training.

He expressed his fear that over time the new recruits will become complacent.

Dr Adams counteracted this notion by defining the duties of prison officers.

“You then will be called to make your mark, but it is after the crime has been committed and some say that not much can be done,” Dr Adams said.

“Your job is one of the most important, as you represent the last hope for those who have gone deviant.”

Dr Adams challenged the recruits to let the uniform instill a change for good.

“Do it so that the inmates will not leave the same as they entered. We must break the cycle that has become the norm.”

He warned that there will be temptations, but said that it was imperative that they stood firm and did the right thing.

Fourteen recruits successfully completed the five-week training period which included a combination of classroom instruction and physical drills.

Kesworth Lewis copped the ‘Most Outstanding Recruit’ award and ‘Best at Pistol and Physical Awards’; Kason Butler took the ‘Prison Subjects’ award; Elminetha Peters took the ‘Most Improved Recruit’ award and Valerie Sam took the ‘Best in Drills’ award.