Govt. signs MOU with correctional services of Canada

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames on Monday signed a Charter of Commitment between his Ministry and Correctional Services Canada (CSC) at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre, Police Headquarters. Correctional Services Canada Commissioner Anne Kelly (left) signed on behalf of CSC. Also present for the event were Acting Permanent Secretary Eugene Poitier, Acting Commissioner of The Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS) Charles Murphy and his Executive Team; and BDOCS Consultant and Retired Deputy Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada Mike Ryan. (BIS Photo/Eric Rose)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Correctional Services of Canada to assist with the transformation of the Bahamas Department of Corrections from a penal institution to a correctional facility.

National Security Minister Marvin Dames said yesterday’s Charter of Commitment

signing demonstrates the government’s commitment and focus on increased public safety.

“Through the continued partnership between The Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS) and Correctional Services Canada (CSC) which has been ongoing for a few years, we are on our way to seeing this transition realized,” Dames said.

“Already, collaborative exchanges between CSC and BDOCS have resulted in the development of an automated system to ensure that our application of resources in the treatment of inmates are effective and efficient, and there is extensive training of case management staff for the assessment of new inmates.”

Moving forward, a specific area of concentration will be the establishment of a parole system.

Training for Parole and Programme Officers began in the Fall of 2018.

The Inter-American Development Bank, through its Citizen Security and Justice Programme, conducted a training seminar for representatives of all of branches of law enforcement stakeholders.

During the seminar, the parole legislation as expressed in the 2016 Conditional Release of Offenders Bill was analyzed and recommendations for adjustments were made.

CSJP is currently funding research on parole and recidivism through the University of the Bahamas.

Correctional Services Canada Commissioner Anne Kelly said yesterday’s signing is a culmination of many years of preparation in order to see the transition of the BDOC from a punitive system to one that addresses the needs of inmates.

“To date, we have hosted numerous staff from the BDOCS in order to ensure that Correctional Service Canada’s Risk Needs Responsivity Model could be adapted to the realities experienced in the Bahamas,” she said.

“The previous six months have seen extensive training provided to the staff at BDOCS. Case management staff have been trained in conducting extensive assessments for newly sentenced inmates. CSC has also provided a three-week training program to provide them with the necessary skills to deliver accredited programs to address the factors that rough inmate in conflict with the law.”