The Department of Corrections is refuting claims that inmates at the island’s correctional facilities are not being made to do hard labour.It’s also challenging the assertion that there is a high attrition rate among correctional officers and the facilities are short staffed.
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The claims were made earlier this week by Chairman of the Jamaica Federation of Corrections, Arlington Turner.
But in statement, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, Ina Hunter, gave examples of inmates conducting hard labour daily.
She cited the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre where inmates make uniforms for their colleagues and staff members, bake bread, provide sanitation and maintenance services as well as repair motor vehicles.
Hunter explained that at the Tamarind Farm Facility, inmates refurbished a dormitory and participated in construction projects.
She also disclosed that callalloo grown by inmates plus eggs from the chicken farm are served weekly at the institutions.
The Commissioner of Corrections described the allegations about a high attrition rate as unfounded.
She quoted statistics indicating that in 2016, – 21 correctional officers resigned, which represented a 0.9 per cent attrition rate.
The figure for the previous year was 42 officers, which was a 1.9 per cent rate.
The Department says 150 officers recently graduated from the Carl Rattray College in St Ann.