This capacity building initiative is an activity of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Crime and Violence Prevention and Social Development Project under the Caribbean Forum/European Union (CARIFORUM/EU) Crime and Security Programme.
The five-day workshop begins with an Official Ceremony to be headlined by Guyana’s Second Vice President and Minister for Public Security, Hon. Khemraj Ramjattan. Head of the European Union Delegation to Guyana and Suriname, His Excellency Jernej Videtič, and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development, Dr. Douglas Slater will also deliver remarks.
Approximately sixty persons from across the Region will participate in the training which utilises the Sycamore Tree Project’s methodology. The project, an in-prison restorative justice programme, brings together unrelated victims and offenders to discuss crime and its impacts.
To this end, prisoners are provided with an opportunity to understand the harm that crime causes both to victims and the community and, at the same time, victims to understand the humanity of prisoners and to reflect on their own experiences in a way that assists healing.
According to Project Manager, Louis Dodson, the training is expected to build national and regional capacity for programming in alternatives to incarceration. Restorative justice programmes often serve as alternatives to incarceration and are part of a wise correctional strategy that account for the fact that offenders present different levels of risk.
Persons who are unlikely to reoffend or who have not committed serious offences should be sentenced to alternative dispositions. Selected incapacitation will reduce the strain on correctional systems, improve cost-efficiency and protect the public.
Regionally, case processing delays and backlogs, low conviction rates, prison overcrowding and insufficient alternatives to prison, all interconnected, impact the capacity for fairness, effectiveness, transparency and accountability in the justice system, according to the Caribbean Human Development Report (2012).
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