Govt to extend retirement age for prison officers

Govt to extend retirement age for prison officers
Minister of National Security and Mount Moriah MP Marvin Dames (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Amendments to the Correctional Services Act are expected to remedy the lack of parity as it relates to the age limit for the retirement of subordinate Correctional Officers, among other issues.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday pointed to the ongoing administrative, operational and infrastructural upgrades to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS) facility as part of wider institutional reform, during his contribution on the Correctional Services (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The bill will extend the retirement age of subordinate correctional officers from 50 to 55.

Dames said this would impact some three percent of the department’s career officers, who were between ages 50 and 54.

It also ensures the agency would not risk losing 22 percent of its officers between the ages of 40 and 50 years in the upcoming few years, he said.

The bill also provides for a subordinate correctional officer to continue to provide service from year-to-year for a period not exceeding five years, after having served 30 years.

The former period was 10 years, Dames said.

“Of course, all of the aforesaid will be dependent on the individual’s physical ability to re-engage and the commissioner’s recommendation.”

Dames said the increase to the retirement age brings “much-needed” parity among law enforcement agencies in the country.

“This now makes pensions equitable, ensures suitability and sustainability of law enforcement personnel over the long-term,” he said.

“It will also allow for the continued human capital investment from officers who are still able to contribute their knowledge and skills to the institution.”

Dames further noted the pension of every subordinate correctional officer who re-engages with the Department of Correctional Services will be suspended during the period of re-engagement and reinstated upon the completion of his-re-engagement.

The minister remarked that, globally, prisons were needed in society to house offenders of laws.

He said the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services was tasked with the detention and the rehabilitation of inmates with the view that they will be reintegrated into the Bahamian society.

“Correctional officers play a crucial role in overseeing the incarcerated population in The Bahamas Department of Correctional Services,” he said.

“They are men and women who are often underappreciated compared to other members of law enforcement, given that they work behind prison walls and they are unseen by the public.”