Civic Leader Joe Issa Backs Small, Not Large Prisons to Aid Rehabilitation, Reduce Crime in Jamaica,

Civic Leader Joe Issa Backs Small, Not Large Prisons to Aid Rehabilitation, Reduce Crime in Jamaica,

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Summary

Research suggests that business and civic leader Joe Issa could easily have been among the majority of respondents in a survey who voted overwhelmingly no to Britain’s offer to build a large prison in Jamaica.
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Summary

Research suggests that business and civic leader Joe Issa could easily have been among the majority of respondents in a survey who voted overwhelmingly no to Britain’s offer to build a large prison in Jamaica.

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Submitted: February 08, 2017

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Submitted: February 08, 2017

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Research suggests that business and civic leader Joe Issa could easily have been among the majority of respondents in a survey who voted overwhelmingly no to Britain’s offer to build a large prison in Jamaica.

The Jamaica Observer recently reported that it had undertaken an online poll in which 77 per cent of the 1,057 respondents who participated agreed with the Government’s rejection of a prison deal with the United Kingdom.

The suggestion that Issa would support the government’s position in refusing the prison deal, which has subsequently been forecasted to be a burden on Jamaican taxpayers, among other issues, is based on comments he made in a blog written long before it became an issue.

In the blog, titled, “Joe Issa Reveals New Strategy to Reduce Crime: Build More Prisons!” which captures some of his thoughts on how crime may be reduced in Jamaica, he made a case for having small rather than big prisons, in order to achieve what he calls “optimal separation of prisoners”, which he argues “better facilitates rehabilitation than having a big prison with everyone in it – the good, the bad and the ugly.

” Making prisoner rehabilitation the objective, separation the strategy and first-time offenders the focus of attention in his model, Issa discerns that “if we can make model prisoners out of first timers they will not return to burden taxpayers any further and can even become a good influence on the outside, a role model, for would-be entrants to change their ways and stay out.”

He argues that the opposite is the more expensive and fearful outcome for taxpayers and communities, when non-rehabilitated prisoners return to the outside worse than they were before, wrecking more havoc until they finally return to prison bringing along many others to further burden the taxpayer.

“It has always been my view that while we are tackling the crime problem from outside the prison walls, we should be doing the same from within it, starting with having separate prisons for first-time offenders, not only so that they do not become further corrupted by seasoned prisoners, but also by one another, and that applies to both male and female prisons.

“By having more small prisons for first-time offenders rather than one big one, prisoners can be more optimally separated based on age and nature of their crime, ranging from non-violent to murder. “I believe that with separate prisons keeping the ‘sheep from the wolf’, it would be easier to rehabilitate prisoners and make for a smoother transition to life outside the walls, rather than having one big prison with both first offenders and seasoned criminals.

“I say so because I believe prisons are potential breeding grounds for criminals so we have to save as many of the first-time offenders as we can, from returning after they have served their time,” says Issa in the blog.

While admitting that because of economies of scale it is cheaper to build a large prison than smaller ones, he argues, however, that on the basis that the latter best facilitate the rehabilitation goal, they end up working out cheaper for taxpayers and safer for communities in the long run, stating that rehabilitated prisoners could be enlisted to help in the fight against crime in Jamaica.


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