Inmates have met with potential employers in prison in a bid to help them find work when they are released.

A group of 60 prisoners met with representatives from range of businesses last month at West Gate to find out what options and resources are open to them when they are set free.

Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley praised the 32 vendors that took part in the Community Reintegration Fair for their commitment to the programme.

He added: “I would like to thank each of the vendors and companies who participated in last month’s Fair.

“Their willingness to enter the prison and speak with incarcerated offenders demonstrates that they understand that each of us have a part to play in the rehabilitation of offenders.

Guidance

“Without the support and guidance offered by these agencies, many offenders would be resigned to life long criminal activity.“

The deputy Premier was due to outline the success of the programme, which is in its seventh year, to the House today.

He added: “The Fair has been designed and tailored to enhance reintegration and discharge planning efforts in order to “bridge the gap” between community services outside of the prison walls and Corrections.”

Representatives from construction firms, Bermuda College, Bermuda Air Conditioning, King Edward VII Hospital, Butterfield & Vallis were all on hand at the fair to provide information on job opportunities and training services.

Responsibilities

While staff from Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, the Departments of Financial Assistance and Social Insurance, and Focus Counselling Centre, were also present.

Mr Dunkley added: “It is the aim of the Department of Corrections to have each released offender adequately informed of their responsibilities and requirements on release so as to reduce the risk of returning to prison.

“Probation and Parole Officers and Members of the Parole Board shared with the Fair’s participants typical conditions of probation and parole, and the workshops and groups available to them through the Department of Court Services.” n