Her Majesty’s Prisons holds Third Family Fun Day for Female Inmates
A section of the persons in attendance at the third annual family fun day at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP)
January 7, 2020
Her Majesty’s Prisons holds Third Family Fun Day for Female Inmates

by Lyf Compton

Female inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) last Saturday spent time socializing with family members and select members of the public.

Inmate Cushalene Crozier (left) gets a warm embrace from a family member

The mixing and mingling came as HMP held their third annual family fun day which ran from around 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and saw the likes of entertainers Rondy “Luta” McIntosh, Rodney Small and Kemmie Christopher visiting the institution.

Cassandra McFee, the matron in charge of the female prison, came up with the idea in 2017 after the prison’s week of activities.

Inmate Alana Hudson (left) hugs a family member

“During the week, I saw that the family time allotted wasn’t sufficient and I discussed it with the superintendent, and he said it was a brilliant idea and he was very supportive,” said McFee.

She said the initiative brings children (under the age of 15), family members and inmates closer together during the Christmas season. The day allows for the playing of games like Ludo, snakes and ladders and the singing of songs and dancing among other activities.

McFee is hoping that the initiative can spread to the general prison population where inmates earn the privilege by maintaining good behavior throughout the year.

Inmate Hermina Jackson told SEARCHLIGHT that it was her third year taking part in the fun day and she was excited.

“This is the time when you get to hug them (children), squeeze them, kiss them and lift them up and even talk with them and it makes you feel good inside, “Jackson said.

Inmate Ava Charles (left) enjoying some much needed family time at the third annual HMP family fun day

She added that during normal visits, you don’t get to hug your children, so this is very different.

“I feel happy because I am a mother and grandmother and when I see them, is like a joy came into me and I feel real exited about it,” Jackson commented while interacting with her son and grandchildren.

Another inmate, Shian Forde, described the day as a godsend.

“It’s a blessing to be interacting with a different set of people even though some are not my relatives. It is good to be with family and friends especially little children,” Forde said while adding that she was given the task of feeding the guests while interacting with her sister and cousin.

Inmate Alana Hudson told SEARCHLIGHT, “I feel really good to be able to interact because being behind bars you always feel sad that you are away from your loved ones so I think it is really a great opportunity for us to come out here and have such long hours with our family members.”

She said her younger brother came to see her and she was thankful to the matron and superintendent Brenton Charles for the opportunity.

Loretta Richardson, one of the inmates who cooks for the others, said it was a great feeling while noting that it was her fifth New Year in prison and her third family day.

“It’s a wonderful experience to interact and share, to hug and kiss and eat food. It’s like a blessing from God to have this, come together as a family and all inmates as one,” Richardson said while adding that she has three children.

Inmate Christine Dublin used the opportunity to send greetings and wish the public a happy and prosperous New Year.

One of the young visitors, Jaden Sam said he was there to see his grandmother.

Cassandra McFee, the matron in charge of the female prison

“I feel good and I can see her and hug her and get to interact with her and we get to spend time with each other.”

Another visitor Tyrique Jackson commented, “I feel good and glad that I can get to see my mom. I miss her and I got to hug her.”

Currently there are 15 female inmates at HMP.

Sponsors of last Saturday’s event include the St Vincent Brewery Limited and Facey Trading.