A lifelong dream of Lady Smith, patron and wife of the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith, Governor General, was realized Thursday, July 7, 2022 with the opening of the Female Inmate Library and Resource Center at the Bahamas Dept of Correctional Services (BDOCS). The Most Hon. Sir Cornelius Smith, Governor General headed the list of executives in attendance.
Permanent secretaries, senior government officers, heads and representatives of uniformed branches, representatives of civil society, religious leaders including Rev. Dr. William Thompson, Chaplain of Corrections; The Venerable Archdeacon Keith Cartwright and Archdeacon Harry Bain, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, were also present for the ceremony. Archdeacon Bain blessed the new building on behalf of the Anglican Bishop of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Right Reverend Laish Boyd. Lady Smith led the ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling for the new facility.
Officials and guests toured the quaint library/resource center located on the grounds of the female correctional facility. The Female Inmates Choir and the BDOCS band performed musical selections.
“It has been a lifelong dream of mine to support an effort that would make it easy for inmates of this institution to return to society better equipped to cope with the challenges of living when they are released.
“It is my sincere hope that this library would in some small way help in that effort,” said Lady Smith.
She expressed her fondness for the Bahamian Authors Section and her appreciation to Bahamians who have contributed books to the library. She also mappealed to Bahamian writers to continue to contribute their writings to them institution.
The Hon. Wayne Munroe, Min. of National Security, said the opening of the Library and Resource Center will serve as a critical component in the rehabilitation and constructive use of time for female inmates. “The Library and Resource Center will become an important part of the entire prison environment as it is trifold and designed to support educational, recreational, and rehabilitative programmes.
“It will provide a level of normalcy in a highly regulated environment as a place where individuals are free to make their own choices and engage in self-directed pursuits. The library presents a window to the outside world, and it will provide much useful information for those preparing for release to the outside world,” he said.
On behalf of the Bahamas Government he thanked Clara Smith for pursuing and seeing to fruition the establishment of the special project. He also encouraged the female inmates to fully utilize the facility.
Bernadette Thompson-Murray, Acting Commissioner of Corrections, said the project is essential to the department’s new Correctional Services Model that is being introduced, and will further enhance the rehabilitative approach as it relates to the treatment and management of offenders. She underscored the importance of preparing offenders for re-entry into society so that they can lead productive lives and avoid returning to former bad habits.
“Rehabilitation starts from [the time] the offender begins serving their sentence. Providing practical programmes such as vocational training makes it possible for inmates to leave prison with marketable skills for good steady jobs. However, it is imperative for us to ensure that the inmates have the necessary resources and are equipped with the necessary skills to facilitate their successful re-entry into society,” she said.
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