Focus on Education and Exposure Expected to Pay Huge Dividends for Prison



Superintendent of Prisons Dr. Elliston Rahming, second from left, speaks at a press conference held Tuesday, October 16, 2007 to announce Her Majesty’s Prison Annual Prison Recognition Week. From left are Sgt. Gregory Daxon, Dr. Rahming, Sgt. Samuel Duvalier and Tiska Armaly. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

NASSAU, Bahamas – Prison officials say a major focus on education and exposure for officers and staff of Her Majesty’s Prison is expected to pay major dividends in the way forward.

Superintendent of Prisons Dr. Elliston Rahming said there will be a re-doubling of efforts to ensure that officers and staff at the Prison receive the “highest quality” training available locally, regionally and internationally.

Dr. Rahming explained that through the use of exchange programmes, the Prison has also undertaken a “major campaign” to expose as many officers as possible to the best practices currently in use at some of the best facilities within the region and internationally.

The focus comes as the prison celebrates its 315th anniversary during Prison Recognition Week Monday, October 28 through Saturday, November 3, 2007.

“Thirty years ago height, weight and size were three of the primary qualifications for becoming a Prison Officer in The Bahamas, but now those requirements have changed dramatically as officers must be able to compete with their counterparts in other branches of law enforcement and other professions,” Dr. Rahming said.

“It is our belief that if we can have a workforce that is diverse, skilled and ethical, we will be in a much better position to serve the Bahamian people justly and proudly.

“No matter what we intend to do; no matter what our mandate is, it all pretty much hangs on the quality of our staff. If we are talking security, rehabilitation, education or the environment, the same applies and so from the time of recruitment right on up to retirement, it is important for us to ensure that our staff remains on the cutting edge of knowledge and exposure,” Dr. Rahming added.

Dr. Rahming said the new focus is already underway following a change in the curriculum for new recruits to one that is internationally accepted and in line with United Nations standards.

He pointed out that staff of the Educational Unit studied a number of training modules in use in Canada and the United States of America prior to developing the new curriculum. Dr. Rahming said the implementation of the training curriculum, in addition with the focus on exposing more and more officers to international best practices will bode well for the prison in the future.

“Exposure for our staff and officers is critical to what we want to accomplish because while many of our officers have experience, they lacked exposure and so we went on a major campaign to expose as many officers as possible,” Dr. Rahming noted.

“For instance, since May of this year officers have been to Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados to get first-hand knowledge on what is happening at those facilities and other groups will travel to Canada and to Jamaica within the next few months for the same purpose.

“And so there is a very decided emphasis on international exposure to add to the experience and educational components of the plan. We think that’s a good mix to put us on the cutting edge of knowledge, know-how and practice in corrections,” Dr. Rahming added.