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EDUCATION FOR ALL IN THE CARIBBEAN: ASSESSMENT 2000 MONOGRAPH SERIES 24 - page 21 / 44

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and, thus, reduce their dependency on welfare or state-provided funding.

  • Inmates’ participation in education of a practical nature, for example, in agricultural programmes, reduces the cost to the public fund as they provide food for the institution as well as income in such areas as brick-making and auto mechanics. This contributes to the self-sufficiency of the prison.

Values Orientation and Health Education in the Prison System

As stated by the Barbados National Task Force on Crime Prevention in 1977, the peak age group of persons entering prisons was 26 to 29 years, with 65% of the inmates being below the age of 30 at the time of their incarceration. Persons serving time for breaking and entering and larceny constituted the largest proportion of the population (1/3). Of a survey of 110 male prisoners, 86% admitted illicit drug use, and almost 25% of the inmates committed their offences to buy drugs.

This high incidence of drug and prison related cases prompted the Barbadian government to focus heavily on values orientation and health education, as part of its rehabilitation drive. The most recent initiative in this respect is a Values Orientation course being offered to inmates on their departure from prisons. This has been made compulsory by the Ministry of Social Justice and consists of the following modules: Human development, Self esteem, Communications, Interpersonal relationships, Human sexuality, The family, Responsibility as a citizen, Morals and ethics, and Spirituality. These are supplemented by workshops and occasional lectures. Previous workshops included: Drug rehabilitation 1& 2; Rehabilitation of sexual offenders, Preparing for re-entry into society, and Discipleship Bible courses. Topics which have been covered by lectures include: Citizen responsibility; The seven habits of highly effective people; Expounding on the seven characteristics of highly effective people; and Conflict resolution.

Three major observations can be drawn from this review: (a) the philosophy of EFA is being practised in Barbados, even among the frequently marginalised inmates of correctional institutions; (b) the categories that seem to have received the most attention from the Barbadian government are those of skills training and values education; and (c) the Barbadian government has supported the philosophy of EFA by continually expanding and improving courses offered. The prison system has picked up where the general society left off. The 1997 survey showed that of the 78 respondents who had attended secondary school, only 16 (20.5%) had received certificates. The Glendiary Prison is seeking to eradicate this problem of non-certification. The first graduation was held at the prison in 1992, and was followed by a series of graduations, in which inmates received certificates of participation and progress from the UWI School of Continuing Studies.

Belize

The major focus of the Belizean government in the 1990s was on the reform of its primary education system. The focus of its country assessment was, therefore, on this reform and so could not provide information on adult education. Thus, the analysis will only be based on data provided on the prison system.

Introduction to the Prison System

There is a major difference between the prison system in Belize and the systems in other Caribbean countries. In Belize, over 65% of the prison population comprises youth offenders between the ages of 12-16. Thus, the emphasis is on implementing programmes in the prisons suited to the needs of these young people. There is a high rate of recidivism; 60-70% of these offenders, who become more hardened and sophisticated each time they return. The Belize Department of Corrections is, therefore, embarking on

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