The Ministry of National Security, through the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), and the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday, January 6, to provide full-tuition scholarships to four inmates and one correctional officer from the St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre.
The UCC has agreed to provide the two-year scholarships for an online Associate of Science Degree in Business Administration, each valued at J$600,000.
The pilot project which starts this January and is expected to expand to other correctional facilities.
State Minister Rudyard Spencer lauded the initiative as a substantial addition to the rehabilitation programme.
“I wish to congratulate those who were identified to participate in such a life-changing opportunity. We’ve heard the cry of ex-offenders who face difficulties qualifying for employment opportunities because of education limitations. Therefore, we are increasing the marketability of inmates and officers by providing sustainable scholarships and grants, through worthwhile partnerships,” said Minister Spencer.
A selection committee, including education coordinators in the correctional services department, identified the participants based on good behaviour, achievements in existing educational programmes, and their qualifications in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
Over 800 inmates are currently enrolled in academic and vocational education programmes across five adult correctional centres.