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The Bahamas EFA country report (1999) states that the process of economic development has resulted in the gradual breakdown of traditional values and acceptable standards of behaviour. This emphasises the need for greater concentration on health education, values orientation, and positive attitudinal development. With the ongoing assistance of the electronic and print media, The Bahamas is seeking to make this EFA target a reality. The television and radio stations are used for public service announcements and have designated slots in which this must be done (thrice per day). These are used for social mobilisation campaigns, including campaigns against HIV; for immunisation; general health conditions; and for general motivational programmes.

From the data presented, it would appear that there is a lot of emphasis on literacy training in The Bahamas; more so than on skills training, values orientation, and health education. This does not mean that The Bahamas is not consistent with the EFA guidelines in educating the general adult population. What it means is that it has chosen to focus on literacy training in its drive to have a fully literate population. This has been successful, as is evident in the statistics which show an increase in adult literacy from 97% in 1990 to 98.2% in 1995 (Bahamas. National Task Force on Education, 1999).

Programmes to Effect a Positive Approach Towards Health, Attitudes, and Values in the Prison Population

A great deal of emphasis is placed on values orientation and positive attitudinal development as a form of rehabilitation in the Bahamian prison system. Various programmes have been put in place within the prison system to facilitate this. These are:

  • An extramural scheme, which allows selected inmates the opportunity to obtain external working experience during the daytime and return to the prison in the afternoons. Of the money earned from this scheme, 10% goes into an Inmate Welfare Fund and the remainder goes into the inmates’ personal account, to which they have access upon their release.

  • Counselling courses in living skills and parenting.

  • Various recreational activities, offered under the programme managed by the Department of Welfare and Rehabilitative Services and the prisons.

  • Spiritual counselling, available through the prison chaplain. There is also a system of ministering to inmates on a regular basis; training them through seminars, bible study, and fellowship, carried out by both the chaplain and a Prison Fellowship Board.

  • The Inmates’ Cultural Society, open to all sentenced inmates. The members present debates, lectures, and dramatic presentations and enjoy various recreational activities provided under the programme. Inmates also get the opportunity to mediate and liaise, as they are the ones who make up the executive and liaison between the administration and other inmates.

These programmes within the Bahamian prisons not only assist the offender on his return to society, but are also aimed at addressing the fundamental problem that may have caused the incarceration. They are intended to reduce the high rate of recidivism in the Bahamian society.

The information presented shows that while there may be much emphasis placed on values and attitudes within the Bahamian prison system, there is not much on health education,. While there does not seem to be much emphasis on values and attitudes in the general adult population, there seems to be quite a significant amount of emphasis on these areas among the adults in prison. Therefore, the general conclusion is that, in The Bahamas, while the emphasis is on literacy training among the general adult population, among incarcerated adults the major emphasis is on skills training, followed by programmes having to do with the positive development of attitudes and values towards the self, society, and others.


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