Ten HM Northward Prison inmates have been selected to be a part of the new Fresh Start pilot project. The inmates will train for eight weeks in construction at the Prison’s vocational facility with the aim of securing employment upon release.
“We do sometimes run into a brick wall, but we kept going,” said Director of Prisons Neil Lavis.
After months in the works, he told Cayman 27 the Fresh Start project is one example of persistence paying off.
“Today we started eight week program, and a week pilot program which will be construction of the building from start to finish,” he said.
Ten inmates were selected to participate in the pilot, and Thursday morning, one by one, they each expressed their gratitude to the prison, its staff, and its private sector partners.
Mr. Lavis said the inmates will go through an eight week programme, and then near the end of their sentences there will be possibilities for the inmates to transition into a work- release scheme.
“Going out in the community and working on a daily basis and then coming back to prison on the evening,” explained Mr. Lavis.
He said ultimately, the aim is to help get the inmates work opportunities upon their release. Team leader Ryan Ebanks said his men will seize the opportunity.
“This is our shot to prove ourselves, and order to transfer back into society and show the people of the community that we are people too, and we are talented,” said Mr. Ebanks.
Mr. Lavis said the programme is emblematic of the prison’s mission.
“We do it in falling down buildings, and shortages of staff as well, but we have a responsibility that we carry out 24/7, 365 days of the year, and that’s the responsibility to provide opportunities for prisoners to break the cycle of offending,” said Mr. Lavis.