Education for Inmates

By: Jonathan M. Santiago

The University of Puerto Rico, in collaboration with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, will create an academy for the preparation of correctional personnel with the purpose of educating inmates in Puerto Rico.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the University of Puerto Rico entered into a collaborative agreement to professionalize agency employees to ensure the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the University of Puerto Rico entered into a collaborative agreement to professionalize agency employees to ensure the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs.

Nicolas Linares, Executive Director of the FILIUS Institute of the University of Puerto Rico (an institute that does research and organize aid for people with disabilities), said in the FILIUS website that “according to many studies conducted by the institute, on many occasions the criminal conducts of individual inmates is due to specific learning problems or problems with managing their emotions.”.

“Rehabilitation requires professional workers that can help the inmates find the correct path when they get out of prison through the effective implementation of the program”, said Linares.

The Director of Correction, Jesús González Cruz, stated that all correction officers that will participate in the program should have at least an associate degree in criminal justice. “This is necessary to maximize the program’s effectiveness since officials will be more prepared.” said González.

Corrections Secretary, Carlos Molina, enabled three buildings of the ancient institution of the prison 308 in Bayamón to create what is now known as the University Center of Correctional Puerto Rico. The idea is to offer associate degrees and eventually bachelor’s degree in areas yet to be determined.

Nicolas Linares stated that the center is already being used to teach courses in renewable energy, plumbing, electronics, graphic arts and other subjects. The objective is to have more professionals instead of more criminals. “These inmates are willing to make the change” stated Linares at the press conference of the newspaper Primera Hora. “They want to break with the chains that hold them to the world of criminality. We want to give them something to be motivated, something to work for. Give them hope of being someone productive.” said the director.

“We inmates are really pleased with this new program. We want to restore our lives, to be useful to society … We are committed to take advantage of this program.” said Juan Delgado Martinez, one of the students/inmate of the center to the newspaper Primera Hora. “It is a tremendous idea, it is a change for us and for the wellbeing of our families” he said.

“I’m grateful to this program and will take full advantage of it” said Juan Delgado Martínez, one of the inmates which will benefit from the program.

“I’m grateful to this program and will take full advantage of it” said Juan Delgado Martínez, one of the inmates which will benefit from the program.

From a survey made to students from the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, ten out of ten students agree that inmates should be educated. Patricia Vega, a psychology major, thinks “that it is awesome that inmates are getting an education because this way when they get out of prison they can get a job instead of keep doing things wrong and get locked up again or even getting themselves killed.”

“They are human beings and have the same rights as any other person. Even if they had done something wrong they should have the opportunity to get educated and become productive workers and better human beings” said Andrés López, an electrical engineering student at UPRM.

The Academy for Preparation of Correctional personnel has a $200,000 investment which will help training correctional employees. These employees will receive theoretical and practical workshops which will help to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes based on the analysis of the strengths and challenges that each unit faces.

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