Leader of Opposition, Mark Golding, penned a letter to Ninjaman in response to the incarcerated veteran’s most recent proposal to the country’s leaders of implementing a prison rehabilitation system in Jamaica.
In a two-page letter addressed to Mr. Desmond Ballentine, o/c Ninjaman, housed at the Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston, the Opposition leader noted his agreement with the statements made by the deejay and welcomed the recommendations to improve the correctional system in the country.
Golding expressed his concerns about the re-offending rates given the prison’s current state, whilst highlighting that emphasizing rehabilitation will help in reducing crime and violence. He also solicited urgent attention from the Government, with support from the PNP and the society as a whole to place importance on the suggestions outlined by Ninjaman.
“Your insights, stemming from first-hand experience, are worthy of serious consideration with a view to action. The issues you have raised regarding the inadequate attention to rehabilitation, and the lack of post-release employment or other income-earning opportunities, are pressing matters that demand the immediate attention of the Government, with support from the Opposition and Civil Society.”
Golding further reiterated the stance that Ninjaman wrote in his detailed correspondence, which declared that a large number of persons incarcerated have untapped skills that should be utilized. He again expressed his agreement with the practical ways that were suggested, such as financial incentives and work programmes, noting that this will allow them to positively give back to society.
He also communicated his willingness to be a part of the discussions in prison reform going forward if invited by the key stakeholders, such as the Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Minister of Security, and the Chief of Justice.
“I therefore hope that the Government will facilitate a bipartisan and inclusive process to move this matter forward. I am ready and willing to play my part.”
In concluding his letter, Golding thanked Ninjaman for his commitment to improving Jamaica’s correctional system and encouraged him to continue creating awareness as his voice can play an important role in effecting change.
The full letter can be read below: