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Prisoners on Coetivy ‘released on licence’ to work on outer islands

prisonprison-2Twenty prisoners on Coetivy would soon be released to work freely as normal workers on several designated  outer  islands, namely Assumption, Farquhar, Alphonse, Poivre, Astove, Remire and Coetivy.

This will be possible under the ‘release on licence programme’ which was officially launched on Coetivy island on Thursday by the Minister for Home Affairs, Charles Bastienne.

The launch took place in the presence of the managing director of the Islands Development Company (IDC) Glenny Savy, the superintendent of prisons Maxime Tirant, island manager Michel Delorie, Coetivy rehabilitation inspector in charge Julita Agathine, prison advisory board members, beneficiaries of the programme and other inmates.

Under the programme the prisoners will earn a salary which will be administered by IDC.

Prisoners who have debts such as alimony payment will be encouraged to pay those out or send money to families if they wish to do so.

The symbolic signing of the contract was done by inmate Philip Volcère along with Minister Bastienne and superintendent Tirant.

Mr Tirant issued all the inmates with a small licence card on which are printed their photos, details and expiry terms of work.

Thirty-eight-year- old Volcère said he is very happy to have been chosen for the programme and that he will give his best during the remaining four months of his sentence. He expressed great eagerness to see his family and said he is looking forward to find work in his field as a cook. He is working as a baker at the Coetivy rehabilitation prison.

After a minute’s silence was observed in respect of prisoner Vincenzo Dogley who died recently, Minister Bastienne addressed the gathering saying the programme is another step by the government to help prisoners to reintegrate themselves into society.

“The principal aim of the programme is to develop your potential, make you more productive so that you also contribute towards the country’s economy. Today you are practically free and no longer a prisoner, but there are certain conditions that you will have to abide to. You all will sign a contract with IDC and if you breach your agreement, you will find yourself back at the Montagne Posée prison to finish your sentence,” Minister Bastienne told the inmates.

Minister Bastienne also appealed to the 20 ‘release on licence’ prisoners to make the most of the opportunity given to them, saying it will open doors for career opportunities. He reassured those who have not been chosen for this first programme that their time will come and that they should continue to show good behaviour and good discipline as those are factors that qualify an inmate for the programme.

According to Minister Bastienne, the programme will not entertain prisoners serving life sentences and drug traffickers. Most of the 20 inmates on the programme will be completing their sentences in three to eight months’ time.

Mr Savy told the 20 inmates that IDC is very happy to have them onboard and is looking forward to working with them and to help them move forward in their lives.

“At IDC we stress a lot on good behaviour and discipline among our workers. We have a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and we would like to see that you fulfill your obligation towards the contract that you have signed and we don’t want to see you going back to the Montagne Posée prison. We are ready to employ all of you who wish to continue working with us after your contract ends,” Mr Savy assured them.

Mr Savy also reminded the gathering that the IDC ran a similar programme 25 years ago with 20 inmates from the former Long Island prison and 18 completed it.

Speaking to Seychelles NATION, prison superintendent Tirant said the programme will help bring down bad behaviour and indisciplinary actions in prison as more inmates will be willing to join the programme. He said a similar release programme for female inmates is being discussed.

The ‘release on licence’ programme in partnership with IDC comes after the success of the still ongoing ‘resettlement release’ programme with Land Marine Ltd launched last month.

Source : Seychelles NATION

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