Unlike Bureau of Prison (BOP) prisoner employment programs such as Prison Industries, widely criticized as exploitive because of the low wages paid and the lack of transferable job skills taught in its facilities, a new program instituted in the Bahamas jail system promises to promote a partnership for all participants. The Bahamas Inmates’ Industries Program will utilize “tourist-related souvenir products” to promote job-training for the prisoners working in the program.
Dr. Bernard Nottage, Bahamas National Security Minister, said, “The private sector can provide the capital, the know-how and the marketing, while the inmates will provide the labor and talent. Speaking at a Prison Arts and Crafts Show, he also remarked that it was “an excellent example of the kind of partnership of which I speak as it provides a marketing outlet for inmates ’products.”
Prisoner-made products included beautiful designer bags made from local straw, artwork, paintings, carvings, and pottery/ceramic pieces all designed and handcrafted by inmates of the facility. Nottage also said that, “The creation of artwork and crafts provide an effective, therapeutic and rehabilitative tool. Creativity sells and (so) in an attempt to further assist inmates in becoming self-reliant, Her Majesty’s Prison seeks to establish permanent sales counters at prominent outlets that will showcase products made by inmates.”
Dr. Nottage concluded by stating, “It is hope that through the educational and vocational training in prison, the seed of self-reform at the bottom of each inmate’s heart, can be awakened and in the future, grow to an enormous tree that displays his gifts and talents in all of their splendor.”
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