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Jul 30, 1999

Y.E.A. holds family day

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This Saturday, the inmates of the Youth Enhancement Academy will host family and selected friends at the Ladyville compound at their second “Family Day”. They want the people they care about to see the progress they have made in turning their lives around.

Rupert Avila, Inmate, Y.E.A.

“Rehabilitation, it makes you see what you really worth. It’s not like when you were out on the road. Now you don’t really think about things the way how you think about things now because now you could see what you could do and what are your capabilities.”

Q: “What will you do when you get out?”

Rupert Avila

“Well, further my education, if I could.”

That attitude is just what the Youth Enhancement Academy is trying to evoke in its inmates. According to Kashmir Clare, Deputy Chief Officer at the academy, the focus is education during incarceration.

Kashmir Clare, Deputy Chief Officer

“The whole idea of the prison system, the whole trend, is being changed. I would say that over here, we’re a little bit ahead of the general population is in that we believe that you’re supposed to treat the inmates in a humane manner. So you will not find people in here with a big stick in their hand or this old thing that used to be. We try to reason with the guys; we try to talk to them. We maintain discipline but our stress is on education.”

While the academy has enrolled the inmates in basic courses like Mathematics and English, it also offers vocational programs such as mechanics and plumbing. Clare hopes an agreement can be reached with the Center for Employment Training where the inmates could be certified.

Kashmir Clare

“What I have been trying to do is when they complete the competencies, then arrange with CET so they could do some on the job training which would be another asset so it could help them to re-enter the community.”

As to the new technical and vocational high school, Clare says he has heard no definite plans that would affect the Y.E.A.

Kashmir Clare

“Everyday the same question comes up and it comes from the guys here and it comes from outside. When are we moving and where are we going to? Well what I can say is that that is not finalized. The high school that is coming up here will be starting, as the Chief Education Officer told me, with the first form. The buildings for that are being prepared on the outside so that in reality, we are not an obstacle to that at the moment. I believe that most people have been setting a time for us to move because they know that the high school is supposed to open and they figure well, by the time the high school opens, you need to be out of here. Personally I don’t think that is so.”

Janelle Chanona for News Five.

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