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By Zena Henry“For six years now I have been suggesting to the Guyana Government that they should set up a post-releasePastor Wendell Jeffreyprogramme for ex-offenders. I have been very instrumental in setting one of the largest post-release programmes in the United States of America; the Practical Christianity Ministers.”Pastor Wendell Jeffrey, an ex-offender himself and currently attached to the Inter-Religious Organization (IRO) has restated the pertinence with which the government should address a comprehensive rehabilitation programme that would provide aid to ex-offenders. Jeffrey is passionate about providing an avenue that would prevent offenders from committing crimes that would land them back in jail.According to Jeffrey, programmes aimed at pointing offenders away from a life of crime would significantly aid the justice system, since there would be fewer instances of people recommitting crimes, because of programmes that offer an alternate direction from that of criminal activities.However, Jeffrey’s proposal is still to be seriously considered. He said that “if the Government assists in the establishment of an ex-offender rehabilitation programme, it would reduce the rate at which those coming out of prison reoffend. This would directly reduce the crime rate in the country, because over 50 percent of all the inmates are persons who have been to prison before”.Jeffrey contends that the programme would also provide support to deportees, as it would help with transitioning them back into the society.“If the programme is set up it would provide housing, job training, academic and skills training, anger management and domestic violence prevention. We will also provide jobs for the participants. This would be a great initiative for the country and it will show the ex-offender that the country is really interested in their development.”Jeffrey was raised in Laing Avenue,Buy Air Max 95, Georgetown, and had his fair share of hard times growing up.He had been locked up several times while in Guyana, and when residing in the United States he was involved in a drug matter that caused him to be locked up for four months. He was also facing up to 25 years in prison.He said that the case was fortunately dropped, but it was enough to make him realize that he needed to take his life in an entirely new direction.Jeffrey studied the causes of crime and ways in which people could be aided in desisting from such activities. He then worked with ex-offenders in the United States,Kyrie Irving Jersey, using comprehensive methods in equipping them for their return to society.The programme is run under Practical Christianity Ministries,Cheap Nike Air Force One Shoes, which Pastor Jeffrey developed. It involves spiritual, academic and life skill changes, among others, and is the number one pre- and post-release programme being used in the state of Indiana in the United States, catering for 4000 inmates housed in the State’s largest penitentiary,Nike Air Max 1 Mens Cheap, Westville Correctional Facility. Barbados’ authorities have also sought the Pastor’s intervention in setting up their own rehab programme on the island.Pastor Jeffrey met with security authorities here on several occasions and has put forward proposals to the Ministry of Home Affairs. He has also promoted various aspects of his initiative such as teaching prisoners a trade and ensuring that they continue, even after release time. At the same time, making the institute self-reliant in terms of food provision, through an agriculture programme, was also discussed. Several other proposals were put to the Ministry and others involved in the prisoner rehabilitation programme.It was mentioned that in Guyana some 75 percent of offenders return to prison within three to five years of their release from prison, because they are forced back into the same situations which would have landed them in the lock-ups in the first place.In this case, Jeffrey also noted the role the programme can play in aiding deported persons. Earlier this month, the US returned some 26 deportees to Guyana. Jeffrey was adamant that these deportees can be aided so that they can be re-integrated into the Guyanese society.The United States and Guyana in 2009 inked the ‘Re-Integration of Returned Migrants Project’ which allows for the long-term reintegration of deportees from the United States in areas such as the establishment of halfway houses and re-integration projects to equip them to become productive members of society with a view to mitigating the potential of their resorting to criminal activity as the only option of earning a livelihood.Chargé d’Affaires,Carlton Fisk Jersey, Bryan Hunt said that on the US side of this, the agreement between the United States and Guyana is satisfying.  The primary purpose he said was to ensure that those who had gone through the legitimate legal process in US were provided with the necessary documents from the Guyana government to return here.The agreement between the US and Guyana has to do with the issuance of documentation to return after legal processing. On the other hand, the US is facilitating the return of persons who have been deported,Cheap Nike Free Run Shoes, but any benefits such as duty free concessions on assets belonging to the deportees that could be brought to Guyana are matters for the Guyana government.Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster told this publication that a comprehensive programme for deported persons is still in the works. Terms of reference are to be established. She said that while the system offers some form of assistance to those deported persons, it is not in a sustainable way.The Ministry is instrumental, however, in aiding to register those deported persons returning, since many of them would have left Guyana at a very young age and have no documentation for Guyana. The Minister pointed out further that her agency and others work in collaboration to address matters of ex-offenders and deportees.
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