Community to discuss intervention and rehabilitation in the criminal justice system

Constable Lauston Percival

Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 15, 2012 (SKNIS): Persons on the frontlines of social work, education, law enforcement and prison rehabilitation in St. Kitts and Nevis will gather at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences to help implement “A Community-based Approach to Desistance, Intervention, and Rehabilitation in the Criminal Justice System.”

Police Constable, Lauston Percival told SKNIS that a holistic approach is the best way to tackle youth crime and violence in society and the upcoming on August 20 and21 conference, organized by Operation Future, will bring together public and private stakeholders to address two important issues.

“We know our young people in today’s society need a lot of anger management. So that’s one of the highlights that is going to be coming out of this conference,” he said.

The other matter mentioned relates to the stigma faced by persons who were once imprisoned.

“Most inmates [are]repeat offenders and as a community we often write them off,” Constable Percival stressed. “By the time they [get] out no one wants to employ them, people [hardly] want anything to do with them so it’s like we are scorning them and that has to change.”

Percival, who also serves as the President of Operation Future, explained that his organization has worked extensively with some incarcerated youth who partner on various projects such as appearing in public service announcements and participating in public presentations. The messages typically involve testimonials that warn young people about the lure and dangers of gang violence.

“So we want to put things in place to sensitize the community about these prisoners so that when they get out they can lead meaningful lives,” stated the police constable.

The conference marks the third year Operation Future has staged this event. This year’s session will feature presentations by Professor Melanie Nimmo of the School of Human Justice, University of Winnipeg, Canada who will discuss utilizing an interdisciplinary community approach to address the root cause of crime and violence. Daniel Suter, Criminal Justice Adviser to the Eastern Caribbean will present on engaging the community to understand its role is fundamental to the criminal justice system.

Other speakers include Dr. Peter K.B. St. Jean, Executive Director of the Peaceful World Movement, based in Chicago, Illinois, USA; Laverda Thomas of the John Howard Society of Toronto, Canada; Franklyn Dorsett, Superintendent of Prison, St. Kitts; and Evet Allen an inmate at Her Majesty’s Prison.

Persons interested in registering for the event or finding out more can visit www.sknoperationfuture.com or telephone Constable Percival at 668-0856.

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