Jamaicans know Audley Gordon as the former Councillor for the Hughenden division of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), prior to taking over as Executive Director of National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) in 2016.
However, few Jamaicans are aware that he has spent 25 years as a member of the Prison Fellowship, a volunteer organization which focuses on the rehabilitation of persons imprisoned in Jamaica.
Interestingly, the global body was founded in 1976 by Charles W Colson, a former US politician who was jailed for his involvement in the Watergate scandal that ended the presidency of the late Richard Nixon in the United States.
‘We do not treat prisoners well, because there is no love in the country for them.’— Audley Gordon
The Prison Fellowship was an immediate success spreading across over 110 countries. It was started in Jamaica about 20 years ago and is headed by Gordon who also served in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) for close to a decade, offering prayer, fellowship and hope to prisoners. But, Gordon admits that the situation inside the island’s correctional centres badly needs improvement.
“We have been asking for change, but we believe that it will come incrementally. We just have to keep working,” he said.
“We do not treat prisoners well, because there is no love in the country for them. We are 77 per cent retributive. They wouldn’t mind if we lock them up and throw away the keys. We need to be more rehabilitative,” he added.
Gordon was awarded the Order of Distinction (OD) on Monday (Oct 21) for service in volunteerism in the prison ministry.