Ex-inmates deserve a second chance

Barbadian society must become much more forgiving and make the effort to give ex-inmates a second chance.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce & Small Business Development, Donville Inniss made the point in the House of Assembly yesterday, during his contribution to debate on the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

“We must as a society, be prepared to give people a second chance. You know, you’ve gone to jail, you’ve done your time, you come out. I think society, mindful that you’ve gone to jail, must be prepared to give you a second chance. What is happening is that we say you went to jail, you are for the rest of your life (a criminal). How are people supposed to feel about that,” Inniss remarked.

“Hence you can’t get a job. You can’t even get back to school and further your education. Your children start to hear from young, your father was a jail bird, your mother was this and that and that is what they have to grow up with, because society on a whole is not a very forgiving society and I think we can do better in Barbados today. Everybody deserves a second chance,” Inniss further stated.

He maintained, “I think if you’ve done three years in jail and you come out, you should not be treated as a criminal for the next 30 years. We have to do better than that.”

The Member of Parliament for St. James South also took issue with the length of time it takes some Barbadians to get a Police Certificate of Character, noting that it was a matter he had already raised with Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite.

“We have to get these done electronically. You mean every time you go, you’ve got to do fingerprints? Your fingers don’t change,” he argued.

“I think the public needs to hear about these matters. I know that the police have made some strides along the way, but we want to ensure that there is a faster turnaround between the time of applying for a police certificate of character and the time you receive it. Because it is not just the criminals or former criminals who are waiting on it, there are individuals who are waiting for matters before the Immigration Department, that are waiting for matters before the court,” he pointed out.

“We just have to raise the bar. We have made strides in our technology deployed, the equipment deployed, but we cannot rest on our laurels, we have to raise the bar all the time, so that we are forever ahead of the game in respect of these matters, because we are looking at it in a holistic manner,” Inniss concluded.

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