PRISON FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL is working with the United States Government in an attempt to reform that country’s criminal deportee programme.
This was disclosed yesterday by Win Callender, chairman of Prison Fellowship Barbados, at the launch of its annual Angel Tree programme which collects gifts for families of prisoners.
He said that the wanton deportation of criminals from countries such as the US was “not fair” and should not be encouraged.
Callender, the communications monitor for the North American and Caribbean leadership zone of the fellowship, said prison was a “university for crime” which is one of the reasons why the US deportee programme had to be addressed.
In a later telephone interview, he outlined what was being done.
“We are conducting a study in conjunction with some US universities and a member of the Obama administration to work out a memorandum Of understanding pertaining to the case history [of criminals likely to be deported].”
Callender said this was important as the authorities in the recipient countries had no knowledge of the crime the individuals would have committed.
“We also want them to understand that some of the people being deported may have no direct link with the Caribbean and are essentially American,” he said.
In an earlier example made during his speech, he said: “The poor guy never visited Barbados, has no knowledge of Barbados, has no relatives he knows in Barbados but he committed a crime in the US, served his time and then he is sent back because his parents were from Barbados.”
Callender said it was one of their hopes to ultimately reduce the number of criminals deported.
“So Prison Fellowship International is fighting to have some sort of say. We’re not saying that you don’t punish people for committing crimes, but you have to be careful in what you do because that act of the United States government is affecting a lot of the Caribbean territories,” he said. (CA)