Nineteen prisoners were released on parole in 2016 after they were reviewed by the Parole Board and none of them have since found themselves in trouble with the law.
This was according to acting Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels who told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the Parole Board continues to play a key role in rehabilitating and reintegrating prisoners back into society.
The 19 prisoners who were released comprised both men and women, and according to Samuels, their review was given favourable consideration by the Parole Board. The board consists of five members; Carl Hanoman, Justice Duke Pollard, Yvonne Heywood Benn, Merle Mendonca and Justice James Patterson.
The Prison Director (ag) boasted that since their release, none of those individuals have since returned to the prison system.
He explained that the Board would evaluate prisoners who are eligible for parole and they would be released if the requirements are met.
“Coming out of that, the necessary assessment and further evaluation will be done and necessary recommendations will be forwarded to the minister in terms of those persons who are deemed eligible for release,” Samuels told GINA.
He said that the parole system has very “stringent criteria” – all of which are taken into consideration before any prisoner is considered eligible for parole. Some of the factors examined by the Board include: prisoners’ behavior, attitude, work ethic and the type of offenses for which they were convicted.
One of the most important criterion for parole, the Prison’s Director said, is that the victims’ families must be informed if any convict will be released and potential risk they may pose to society.
He further explained that for those capital offenders who would have committed murder/s, a relative of (the victim) is contacted to see how the release of the person on parole might affect them.
Samuels was keen to note that once the parole board has reason to believe that the prisoner has not fully met the criteria, that prisoner will not be considered favorably for parole.
The board, upon review to ensure that the convicted prisoner has met the criteria, makes the decision whether an offender should be released from prison after serving at least 12 months or one-third of their sentence term.