The Progressive Labour Party invites the women of Bermuda to “Embracing Bermuda’s Women”, an open and frank discussion to address everyday issues relevant to everyday women in Bermuda.
This event, to be held on Thursday, December 13, from 6 to 8pm, at the National Sports Centre’s Cricket Pavilion, will feature six highly regarded and respected women in the PLP Family.
Forming the panel will be Party Leader and Premier the Hon. Paula Cox; she will be joined by General Election Candidates, Renee Ming, Lovitta Foggo, Patrice Minors, Dawn Simmons and Kim Wilson.
Topics up for discussion will be the Family, Community, Education, Employment, Safety and Empowerment.
Refreshments will be served. You are encouraged to RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope to see Bermuda's women in attendance to participate in this discussion.
Yesterday, Attorney General Kim Wilson noted that 45 Bermudians have benefited from this Therapeutic Community designed to help those with substance abuse problems.
Minister Kim Wilson:
Today we shine the spotlight on the Right Living House and the celebration of their third year anniversary.
In a moment, you will be provided with a detailed overview of the Right Living House and its programmes, however I just want to touch on a few of those aspects in my remarks.
The Right Living House is a Therapeutic Community which originally opened its doors to residents in the summer of 2009, received its first admissions in January of 2010.
Since then, it has received 45 admissions to the programme.
Nineteen persons have successfully completed the residential programme and fifteen are currently in process.
The programme was developed in a partnership between the Department of National Drug Control and the Department of Corrections.
Together, these two agencies set out to lessen the corrosive impact of drug abuse and crime on our community.
This is what standing strong for Bermudians looks like. We're proud to have delivered the Right Living House and look forward to continuing to stand strong for Bermudians like this in our next term.
One of the keys to combating crime in our community is preventing repeat offenders. To that end, Minister Kim Wilson today announced the newly expanded rehabilitation programmes at Westgate.
The Minister noted that the PLP is reopening the Transitional Living Centre to help prepare inmates to re-enter society upon their release. Minister Wilson:
The Transitional Living Center was developed as a partnership between Department of National Drug Control, Department of Corrections and Liberty Behavioural Healthcare Corporation.
The mission of TLC was to provide a drug-free, safe and structured treatment environment where residents live and work together within a supportive and habilitative framework of mutual self- help which will assist resident with successful reintegration into the community upon release.
The programme accommodated approximately fifteen (15) adult male residents and was a 9 to 12 month residential programme, followed by six months of aftercare while the resident re-enters society.
As you are aware, the TLC facility has been closed since June 30, 2012. It is the intention of the Department of Corrections to reopen the TLC in April 2013.
The Minister also noted that the PLP is looking forward to opening the New Co-Ed Substance Abuse Treatment Facility this fiscal year! Minister Wilson:
The critical aspects that are currently being determined will be the selection of those persons to work at the TLC and the training that will be required.
I’d now like to touch on the New Co-Ed Substance Abuse Treatment Facility.
The Substance Abuse Treatment Co-Ed Facility is a current capital project that we anticipate will be completed this fiscal year.
Both the Men’s Treatment Center and the Women’s Treatment programmes will be re- located to this purpose built facility.
We also built the Right Living House facility:
The next facility I’d like to highlight is the Right Living House.
The Right Living House is a Therapeutic Community (TC) located at the Farm Work Release Facility in St. George’s, Bermuda.
It opened its doors to residents in the summer of 2009.
The programme was developed in a partnership between the Bermuda’s Department of National Drug Control and the Department of Corrections.
With the support and backing of Bermuda’s Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation, these two agencies set out to lessen the corrosive impact of drug abuse and crime on our community.
The programme, which currently houses 18 residents, is segregated from the general prison population in order to diminish the potential negative influences of the untreated inmate subculture on the TC’s changed-oriented, pro-social culture.
We also delivered and expanded the Women's Treatment Center. Minister Wilson:
Turning to the Women’s Treatment Center – this facility is the only Residential Treatment Facility for Women in Bermuda. It provides long term, comprehensive treatment for addiction and related disorders.
The programme is delivered over a minimum of 12 months using a phased approach.
All clients are assessed on completion of each Phase prior to being progressed to the next Phase.
Each client is judged on her individual merit for treatment planning. The average length of stay in the program to date is 15 months.
The Women’s Treatment Center opened its doors in 2004 with 6 residential beds and 2 transitional beds.
It was later re-located to its current site on North Shore Road in Devonshire in 2006 where it has 8 residential beds and 2 transitional beds.
And, finally, we started Men's Treatment Services and will complete international accreditation for our Men's Treatment Center in May 2013! Minister Wilson:
And finally, I want to close by highlighting our Men’s Treatment Services. This is a 12-month, 3-phased, residential substance abuse and related disorders treatment programme for men aged 18 and older in Bermuda.
The three phases are Orientation, Treatment, and Transition. The programme is currently being re-organized to incorporate primary care along with relapse prevention and transition for males in this new phased approach.
Clients meet with their primary counselor to develop their treatment plans, discuss personal issues, and monitor their phase progress. Residents are eligible to progress from one phase to the next once they have met the requirements for the preceding phase.
Presently, the maximum bed capacity is twelve (12); however, this number is set to increase to twenty-four (24) once the program relocates to its new facility in Dockyard later this fiscal year.
The Men’s Treatment Center is currently preparing for international accreditation via CARF with plans to be surveyed by May 2013.
We can't lock up people forever. Rehabilitation and treatment is critical to ensuring that released Bermudians integrate into society and become productive members of society. This amounts to real action and real results on public safety.
Over the last week, we've seen a major reinsurer relocate from Dublin to Bermuda. We saw Fitch make positive comments about Bermuda's economy. And, now, we're pleased to announce that an 8,000 square foot Bermudian owned business has opened to the public.
The business - a goods show room - is a collaboration between ESC Limited and Orange Bay. It is owned by Bermudians Glenn Davis and Delight Morris. The specialty home furnishings store features an 8,000 square foot show room.
Minister Kim Wilson was on hand for the ribbon cutting:
It truly is a pleasure to join Glenn Davis and Delight Morris to share in this celebratory occasion. It's such a pleasure because in a climate where we hear so much about the struggles of the economic challenges - and yes I recognise they are real - it is good to see that there are businesses and organisations who are finding ways to overcome the hurdles. And today's Grand Opening is definitely an example of a term I like to call turning Passion Into Profit.
Simply put ladies and gentlemen in today's economy, businesses, retailers and yes, Governments have to think outside of the box and do things differently to stimulate the economy. I am of the belief that if we are to see a turnaround in our economic health then it will take some passionate individuals to come up with some innovative and creative ideas for small businesses. And despite the economic hardships, there have been some pockets of success. We have witnessed a number of entrepreneurs and small businesses popping up across the Island and this is very encouraging.
Minister Wilson noted that the Government worked with Glenn and Delight to get their new venture off the ground. Minister Wilson:
Government, via the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, through the efforts of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and the Department of Labour and Training, has sought to introduce innovative solutions to assist and support the small business owner and the worker. Make no mistake about it, stimulating and sustaining an economic turnaround and getting people back to work is priority number one for this Government and our initiatives and programmes aimed at our economic recovery represent Government's overall commitment and promise to stand strong for Bermudians...
For our part, this Government will continue to support and assist those small business owners like Glenn and Delight, by equipping them with the tools necessary to compete in the public and private market.
While there's more work that needs to be done to turn our economy around, there are some bright spots. Respected international business raters Fitch says that Bermuda has a lot going for it. A big reinsurer just announced that it is moving offices from Dublin to Bermuda. And, now, we're seeing a job creating Bermudian-owned small business open. Things remain tough, but, there is also good news out there that some in the Opposition may not want you to know about.
Keeping Bermudians safe is not just about policing or prevention - rehabilitation is an essential part of our public safety agenda. That's why the PLP and Minister Kim Wilson are acting.
Last week, Minister Wilson outlined highlighted what our government is doing to rehabilitate criminals and ensure that they are reintegrated into society upon their release. Minister Wilson:
Madame President, in these times of economic challenges warranting corresponding fiscal responsive measures; it is incumbent upon myself in my capacity as Minister of Justice, to provide some reassurances in this regard from time to time. This is particularly so as it relates to those incarcerated within our correctional facilities and the Department of Corrections’ (DOC) cost savings measures through work programs designed to rehabilitate inmates for their eventual reintroduction into society.
Madame President, soon after initial arrival at correctional facilities inmates are assessed as to the risk they will pose while incarcerated and are classified accordingly as either maximum, medium or minimum risk. Factors that are taken into consideration to determine an inmate’s risk classification are the offence for which they are incarcerated; sentence being served; and criminal history.
Madame President, the Westgate Correctional Facility (Westgate) is a multi-level security facility. It has three security levels for Maximum risk offenders; Medium risk offenders (called the Echo Units); and minimum risk offenders (the TLC programme). The Prison Farm Correctional Facility (PFCF) is a minimum security facility. When inmates reach the stage where they are assessed as being minimum risk, they are transferred to the PFCF or sometimes directly to TLC.
Madame President, the DOC has a work programme and community programme in place to facilitate the rehabilitation of inmates and to reintegrate them into society. Only inmates who fall into the category of ‘minimum security risk’ are eligible to leave the facility to participate in work or community programmes. Currently, inmates are involved in a variety of work-related programmes, broken down into 3 sequential phases; charity work, community service and work release. Furthermore, the vast majority of inmates involved in these programmes come from the PFCF, owing to its population posing the lowest level of security risk.
Madame President, the said programmes involve a myriad of public works projects and private engagements intended to match inmates’ skills with available employment; as well as to develop those skills and to build sustainable employment relationships beyond incarceration. Accordingly, the DOC operates in partnership with a number of Governmental agencies as well as private endeavours that are appreciative of the opportunities the Programmes afford and their societal benefit.
Madame President, the ‘work release’ phase of the programme at PFCF is the final phase of corrective rehabilitation during which inmates attend a place of employment. Earnings are kept in an account and are given to the inmate upon his discharge. All phases of the work programme involve stringent guidelines and rules to which each inmate and supervisor must adhere. Failure to do so results in disciplinary action and immediate withdrawal of inmates from the programme.
Madame President, little over a year ago, the DOC and the Department of Works and Engineering (W&E) entered into an arrangement whereby inmates soon to be released, or soon after being released, were hired by W & E in full-time employment. The aim of this programme was to provide released inmates with meaningful and long-term employment. Owing to budget cuts, this programme has recently been temporarily suspended however a similar programme is in the advanced stages of development and will continue to provide meaningful and long-term employment to our inmates soon to be released.
Madame President, almost four years ago, an agreement was reached with the West End Development Corporation (WEDCo) to employ three carefully selected inmates from Westgate to provide low-level maintenance work on WEDCo properties in Dockyard. Inmates selected for this programme earn $5.00 per hour, as opposed to the $1.50 per day if they were in Westgate. Monies earned go into an account for the inmate, who may access the funds only by permission of the Commissioner.
Madame President, these funds are typically used to help support the family of the inmate for such things as school fees and other family-related expenses. Despite a hue and outcry from various quarters at the outset, this programme has been a huge success and one that has benefited the DOC, WEDCo and the families of inmates. The programme has been so successful that as a result two former inmates are now full-time employees of WEDCo. Residents at Westgate in its TLC programme are also eligible for work release and most of them are out every day at work as they prepare to re-integrate into the community.
Madame President, the DOC has recently changed the Insurance coverage for inmates. This was preceded by an analysis of the cost of insurance versus the actual amounts claimed. The result is that instead of insuring every inmate with HIP, DOC insures approximately 40 inmates who have qualified for insurance (i.e. those with long-term illness such as diabetes). The costs of medical attention for the remaining inmates will be paid on a case-by-case basis as incurred. On the basis of past claims, it is anticipated that with this change Government will save between $200,000 and $300,000 during this budget year.
Madame President, another area in which the DOC is intending to cut costs is by charging inmates for secondary issue of clothing and footwear. Upon reception, inmates are issued with underwear, prison clothes and running shoes. It is being proposed that any subsequent issue of such articles will be charged against the inmate's canteen account. "Canteen" is the term used for the inmates' personal account into which family members or friends deposit funds and from which, the inmates draws to cover costs of incidentals such as toiletries, etc.
Madame President, the cumulative effect of these measures is that they afford the opportunity to directly cut costs by allowing inmates to earn money toward their upkeep. While we uphold international human rights standards through these Programmes the public also benefits from the spin-off effects of employability of former inmates as well as initial resources afforded to them to begin life after incarceration. In this way society is also afforded benefits that are incalculable.
This programme rehabilitates criminals and helps save taxpayer dollars. It's a win-win and just one part of the swift action taken by the PLP to combat crime.
Yesterday, Minister Kim Wilson revealed that, last week, she ordered a comprehensive and independent review of our prisons to be conducted by a noted international expert.
Following the meeting with Mr. Clarke earlier this week, I can confirm the Government’s commitment to commission an independent and comprehensive review of the Department of Corrections and that former HMS Director General Phil Wheately CB will be conducting the review.
Mr. Wheately has a wealth of experience, having performed reviews of the prison service in Northern Ireland, Barbados and the Ukraine recently. I also note that he came up from the ranks from prison officer to Governor of Hull Prison.
Mr. Wheatley will be working alongside Management Services to conduct a holistic review of the Department of Corrections with the aim of producing a 5 year strategic plan to assess, clarify and direct the Department mandate with respect to all aspects of policy, leadership, management, operations, infrastructure and legislative reform.
Currently Director General, National Offender Management Service, Mr. Wheately has masterminded the first ever effective performance management system into the prison service and delivered significantly improved outcomes from security to human rights.
There's more. We're already engaged in substantial steps to increase security at the prison. This includes fencing around maximum security units and a new CCTV system installed at the co-ed facility. And, we established a Security Review Committee to review the security at all three facilities and make recommendations.
We understand the need to have a safe and orderly prison environment. And, that's why we're already taking steps to improve safety.
You're cordially invited to join us for a very special budget town hall this Thursday at Port Royal Primary School in Southampton.
The event kicks off at 7.30 pm.
Premier Paula Cox will cut through the clutter and present the budget for what it really is! She will also be joined by Ministers Kim Wilson, Zane DeSilva and Michael Scott who will make presentations on their budgets.
We hope you can join us for this very special discussion.
We're cutting costs by making Legal Aid more cost effective and court records easy to manage. We're increasing support for victims and we're introducing a new programme to treat the mentally ill.
The budget for the Ministry of Justice is designed to protect jobs and keep us safe. Attorney General Kim Wilson discusses how funding will be used to combat repeat offenders:
Funding has been allocated for the Right Living House which has as an overarching objective the reduction of recidivism. Offenders are referred to this therapeutic community and aftercare program for a maximum of 18 months through the Department of Corrections, Court Services and the Parole Board. Working within the context of the Therapeutic Community, the Right Living House provides individual assessments, individual and group counseling, staff facilitated and peer facilitated groups as well as a structured living environment. The program aims at seizing the opportunity to ensure that those who re-enter society after paying their debt to society through the penal system, do not find themselves re-entering that system through a revolving door.
There's more. We're also introducing a new programme to ensure that mentally ill offenders don't offend again. Attorney General Wilson:
The Mental Health Treatment Court Programme will be established to promote a criminal justice and treatment team-centered approach to this specialized offender group. This programme will afford more therapeutic intervention and the reduction of recidivism for mentally ill offenders with clearly defined criteria for admittance. It will ensure the delivery of treatment through assessment, treatment and intensive case management in a team oriented and team supervised setting. This is augmented by judicial oversight of the client and treatment providers’ accountability to fulfilling the Court ordered, individualized service plans with regular reporting on outcomes.
We're also going to make the parole process more efficient. Attorney General Wilson:
To address the challenges in enforcing conditions of Probation and Parole Orders we will implement new regimes that enhance deliverables through effective case management services which hold offenders and system stakeholders to greater account in minimizing offending behaviours and upholding the protection of the community. Such initiatives include heightened Court administration of cases to maximize outcomes through regularized case reviews via Re-entry and Review Courts with tiered eligibility for release on parole.
We're also pleased to announce that this budget funds a new Assessment Centre which will help at risk use before we get to the point of prosecution. Attorney General Wilson:
Implementation of an Assessment Centre that will provide comprehensive early assessments, through a centralized repository centre, for youth deemed to be at risk or displaying at risk behaviours. The assessment will outline a tiered sequence of interventions and treatment programmes for the young persons and their significant others. Prosecutions will be considered only as a last resort and mandatory reporting will be enforced for all service providers in an effort to reduce anti-social behaviours, further family dysfunction, and negative thought patterns. Service contracts will bind participants to case plans in all phases through to termination. This will boost prevention methods, tighten collaborative interventions and promote more well-rounded and functional individuals and families.
We will also continue to evaluate and expand the Al's Pals programme to teach middle school students positive life skills they need. Attorney General Wilson:
Prevention will focus on ensuring effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the “Al’s Pals” programme in collaboration with the Department of Education. The Substance Abuse Prevention After-School Programme for Middle Schools, currently active at Dellwood, Whitney and TN Tatem will continue through fiscal year 2012-13. The programme will be enhanced by the inclusion of a substance abuse Life Skills Programme along with substance abuse education and fun activities.
These are just a few of the critical programmes that the Ministry of Justice's budget funds. We look forward to implementing innovative programmes to prevent crimes and ensure that those convicted are punished and are treated so that they don't offend again.
The PLP Government's continued commitment to addressing crime and public safety was furthered yesterday when we introduced new parole reforms to crack down on repeat offenders.
The reforms include a tiered system of sentencing which will effectively revise the minimum time served for eligibility for parole. Minister Wilson:
In order to more readily grasp eligibility for release, as opposed to the current system which provides an unmitigated system of eligibility for release after serving one third of sentence, a criteria for a tiered system/schedule is proposed.
This will address re-offence risks, promote continuity and consistency as well as engender more public confidence.
Cabinet has also approved a legislative proposal to permit judicial discretion to be applied to reflect the circumstances of a crime as it relates to the grant of parole.
And, a re-entry court will be established to utilize judicial authority for release of all offenders serving four years or more of imprisonment.
The Parole Board will be empowered to grant or revoke license/parole for persons serving sentences of up to four years imprisonment only.
The implementation of a Review Court where all cases are regularly reviewed on a set day of the month would also augment this new scheme.
This approach is similar to the judicially led teach approach in the Drug treatment Court programme where re-offence rates continue under 5%.
When it comes to tackling the crime issue, we've strengthened our laws, given our police additional training and resources and we've invested in preventative programs. Our reforms are working. While safety remains an issue, we're getting crime under control.
Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18th at 7.30 pm for the first of three open budget town hall meetings.
The first meeting takes place at the Dalton E. Tucker Primary School, Southampton.
The public will recall that Premier Cox released the Pre-Budget Report, last month and promised that she would facilitate forums to invite feedback from the public on the document.
Tomorrow’s public meeting will feature:
The Premier, the Hon. Paula A. Cox, JP, MP, Minister of Finance
Sen. the Hon. Kim Wilson, JP, Attorney General and Minister of Justice
The Hon. Zane De Silva, JP, MP, Minister of Health
The Hon. Glenn Blakeney, JP, MP, Minister of Youth, Families, and Sports
All meetings get underway at 7.30 p.m.