Northward prisoners could be joining rubbish collectors on their rounds as soon as this week (19 November.)
The idea proposed by the Health Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour came as the Department of Environmental Health faces more delays in its roadside collection.
“The prisoners are going to be assisting with collections, which is a true testament of this government trying to ensure they’re rehabilitated and ready for work when they come back out,” Mr. Seymour told the Legislative Assembly on Friday (16 November.)
A fresh solution for the much beleaguered DEH.
But some MLAs questioned how suitable serving convicts were for this kind of job. The Health Minister acknowledged the concerns, but he said he was supportive of the scheme.
“The prisoners that will be involved in this will be low-risk prisoners. They’ll be properly assessed and trained before this programme is rolled out,” Mr. Seymour said.
Questions, too, about supervision and reimbursement were raised.
Mr. Seymour explained: “they won’t be paid. They’ll be getting their usual stipend from the prison, not from the Department.”
Finance Minister, Hon. Roy McTaggart, has already said he was open to supporting similar schemes.
“If they’ve learned from their mistakes, then certainly you want to give them all the support you can, to assimilate them back into your society as productive citizens,” Mr. McTaggart stressed.
The news will also be well received by those who have already re-assimilated into the community.
Former Northward inmate turned personal trainer and body-building medallist, Nickolar Kerr said it was great that Government is prepared to give people a second chance.
“There’s more windows open now. We’re gonna be police, firemen, in the government system. No doors will be shut to say: ‘hey you’re a criminal’,” he explained.
An opportunity to help those seeking a fresh start and a cost-effective solution to a Department in crisis.
This week, there is a lot riding on those garbage trucks.
Mr. Seymour said it was the Director of the Prison who had thought up the idea. He added, if it does not work, he will change the strategy.