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countries with high recorded rates of access to schooling, literacy, and basic education. A number of these incarcerated individuals, commonly between 25-40%, are unable to read or write, or possess numerical skills below a functional level. If the EFA goals are to be met and there is universal access to education for all, including adults, then this section of the population must be targeted and allowed to exercise the right to basic education, as stated in the Agenda for the Future developed at CONFINTEA V.

The 1990 Jomtien Conference on Education for All stressed the need for universal access to quality education for all. Since then, various states have placed more emphasis on education programmes specific to the needs of different groups in the society, such as adults. However, as expressed in the Agenda for the Future, there are various groups who have been excluded from this right because of their situations. These groups include the world’s prisoners, who have often been excluded from this right as adults. This monograph sought to determine whether this is the situation in the Caribbean. It was found that although the philosophy of EFA is being practised in the prison systems of the Caribbean, there are numerous limitations:

  • 1.

    Even though the data show that the area receiving most attention in the Caribbean is the promotion of positive values and attitudes, there is still some cause for concern because some countries are not placing enough emphasis on this aspect of EFA. The development of positive values and attitudes is an important aspect of the rehabilitation process, since education, without values and attitudinal change, will only produce skilled criminals, resulting in a rise in crime and a greater chance of recidivism. This social change is, therefore, quite necessary, and it is recommended that more emphasis be placed on developing positive values and attitudes within Caribbean prisons. It is proposed that this be done through networking among Caribbean states. There is no need for external help since the Caribbean contains a great deal of expertise which can be utilised. The proposed solution is the creation of a Caribbean Committee, mandated to train prison administrators and implement programmes (specific to the needs of the individual systems) on effective methods of promoting positive values and attitudes among inmates. Among the methods which can be considered are those utilised by the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica, the counselling methods which were pilot tested in Trinidad and Tobago, and the various drug rehabilitation programmes and other methods used by other Caribbean states.

  • 2.

    There is need for more emphasis to be placed on the areas of literacy and skills training in the prison systems. Recent statistics show that approximately 70% of the inmates entering prisons in the Caribbean were functionally illiterate (UNESCO, 1998). This means that literacy and skills training cannot be overemphasised. It is recommended that Caribbean governments adopt the literacy models used by Trinidad and Tobago and Curaçao, with a detailed, step-by-step programme which caters for every need, from remedial to CXC. It is also recommended that inmates in the Caribbean be given the opportunity to study beyond the CXC level through distance education, and that their place of “residence” not be revealed on certificates gained. In the area of skills training, the Barbados model, with the many different courses offered, could be utilised, but there is need for a centralised programme of skills training in each institution.

3. Health promotion and education for inmates seems to be a weak area in the Caribbean, thus there is need for a serious re-evaluation of the Caribbean approach to health education. St. Lucia and Jamaica are the only two Caribbean countries which the data show as having a somewhat diversified health promotion drive. There is need for greater emphasis on healthy lifestyles in Caribbean prisons. This is critically important in the area of HIV/AIDS, a growing threat in the region.


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