National Security Ministry and HOPE Partnering to Transform Youth Offenders

The Ministry of National Security will be partnering with the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme to provide jobs for at-risk youth.

The collaboration will be facilitated under the Ministry’s flagship ‘We Transform’ youth empowerment Initiative, which was launched in 2017.

Minister of State, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, said the partnership is strategic and timely, and reflects the Government’s commitment to transform the lives of the offenders.

“We understand that there is a need for productive activities upon release to prevent our at-risk population from reoffending, and I am confident that through this collaboration, these youth will be empowered to change the trajectory of their lives,” he said.

Mr. Spencer advised that the programme would be geared towards helping youth who are serving custodial sentences to transition into the working world.

“We would start the process before the youth leaves the facility and guide them on a case management basis afterwards, to help them to become productive members of society,” he said.

The State Minister noted that the opportunities stemming from the anticipated support through HOPE will have a positive effect on several communities.

National Coordinator for the HOPE Programme, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Rickman, anticipates that the partnership will assist with the initiative’s expansion, thereby further reducing crime and violence.

A memorandum of understanding will be signed shortly to cement the Ministry’s continued efforts to provide offenders in the care of the Department of Correctional Services with an alternative life to crime and violence.

The HOPE Programme, which launched in May 2017, provides educational and job opportunities for young people aged 18 to 24, who are not employed or enrolled in a school or programme of training.

The ‘We Transform’ programme facilitates the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth offenders who have been placed in juvenile remand centres islandwide.

-- JIS