(PLTM) - GIS - Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley has voiced his support for rehabilitation initiatives at His Majesty’s Prison.
Honourable Wheatley during a visit to the prison on February 1, along with Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly and Territorial-at-Large Representative Honourable Stacey Mather emphasised the role of rehabilitation and successful reintegration of prisoners into the local community.
Honourable Wheatley said, "Embracing rehabilitation for prisoners is not merely an investment in their individual redemption; it is a commitment to rebuilding the foundations of our society, one restored life at a time. Therefore, I am happy to see the efforts Mr. Kendall and his team here at His Majesty’s Prison are putting in to facilitate the rehabilitation of our prisoners."
The visit included the official handover of a brand-new laptop computer. This initiative aligns with the prison's focus on providing educational and skill development opportunities to support successful reintegration into society.
Honourables Wheatley and Mather took the opportunity to inspect the recently expanded wood-workshop, a key component of the prison's efforts to offer diverse resettlement activities. They visited the female wing, where meetings were held with both prisoners and staff and also witnessed the positive outcomes of the ongoing clean and repainting program.
Meanwhile, Honourable Mather expressed his eagerness to further support prison initiatives including supplying additional materials for the woodwork project and facilitating the rollout of a chess activity, a programme designed to teach logic and related social skills to prisoners through community organisations such as Unite BVI.
Superintendent Jay Kendall expressed his satisfaction with the progress made in prisoner resettlement activities in the last two months, stating, "We are working hard to expand our offerings in vocational areas such as woodwork, welding, tailoring, as well as behavior change programs and formal educational skills and qualifications. I am pleased that the ministers had the chance to witness firsthand the strides we are making through our clean and decent campaign to improve living and working conditions within our prison."
Mr. Kendall thanked the minister and Honourable Mather for their unwavering support of the prison Service and the ongoing efforts towards prisoner rehabilitation. He added that the visit underscored the collaborative commitment to building a safer, more rehabilitative environment for all.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development remains committed to enhancing the health and social well-being of the people of the Virgin Islands.