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Group Offers Community Solutions For Tackling Crime

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

A LOCAL community correctional organisation yesterday offered three “proven solutions” for combatting crime in the country.

Identifying “recidivism” and “at-risk juveniles” as two of three “key problems” the nation faces with crime, officials from the National LEAD Institute yesterday said a Project Re-Entry Programme, Life Management Male Empowerment Programme (LMMEP) and Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) would be necessary to “herald the message of justice and peace” while “demanding the right to live in our communities”.

David Knowles, LEAD Chairman, said: “Collectively we can work to reduce the effects of crime throughout our community. By empowering and enhancing multiple sectors in society we can have a much greater impact in our sphere of influence which helps to improve the quality of life for everyone in our country.”

According to Mr Knowles, the re-entry programme is a 16-week training course aimed at preventing recidivism – the tendency to relapse into a previous (criminal) behaviour. It would be offered while the individual is still incarcerated, and upon their release, a three month post-release mentorship would come into effect, ending when the individual is “successfully reintegrated as a law-abiding citizen.”

The LMMEP is similar in principle to the government’s Shock Treatment programme, though notedly less extreme. According to Mr Knowles, it would “intercept and diverge” at-risk young men from engaging in criminal activity through the institute’s behaviour modification programme.

Additionally, officials said training correctional personnel to “be more effective in their work” in dealing with “pre and post prison/correctional facilities inmates” as well as at-risk juveniles via MRT was the third step towards curbing crime in the country.

“In The Bahamas, we think that corrections is only prison, but prison is only a small component of corrections,” LEAD CEO Troy Clarke said. “Corrections is universal. That means you have social services, you have probation, you have the community faith based organisation that all play a role in helping the offender re-enter his community.”

The institute says 87 per cent of its 250 entrants have successfully completed LEAD’s re-entry programme. Mr Knowles said that in 2013, LEAD launched its North Carolina operations in order to “assist Bahamian inmates residing in US Federal prisons with their re-integration process”.

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