Convicts with good behaviour eligible to work on Seychelles' distant islands as part of rehabilitation programme
File Photo: The Montagne Posee prison, situated atop the mountains on the main Seychelles island of Mahe. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Convicts with good behaviour at the Seychelles’ main prison facility will have the opportunity to work on faraway islands through an agreement between the Prison Services and the Islands Development Company (IDC).
The announcement was made at a special meeting chaired by the Seychelles’ President Danny Faure on Monday at State House.
The agreement is part of the second phase of the Phoenix Programme, which is aimed at rehabilitating inmates. Through the programme around 100 inmates will be assigned to work on islands managed by IDC.
“This project will give the opportunity to selected convicts to take part. This will make them more responsible and support the national development programme on outer islands, which is in the interest of all Seychellois,” said Raymond St Ange, the Superintendent of Prisons.
The programme will start with the official closing of the prison on Coetivy island as of February 1. Coetivy, a small coral island located 290 kilometres south of the main island of Mahe, has around 40 inmates on a rehabilitation programme.
The redevelopment of the island is part of the IDC’s five-year plan announced earlier this year.
|Coetivy island on which inmates are following a rehabilitation programme will close officially on February 1. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
The Chief Executive of IDC, Glenny Savy, said that in the development plan for Coetivy one of the strategies was to close down the prison and then to as much as possible absorb the eligible inmates until the end of their sentences. The inmates will be assigned to the islands managed by IDC.
“Inmates with good behaviour will have the opportunity to come and work on the island and develop their potential. We will try as much as possible to keep the inmates in the field they were working in previously so that they can feel that they are continuing with their profession.”
Savy said he hoped that “finally when they finish their sentences, those who want to continue working on the islands will be able to do so.”
On the programme, inmates will undertake various work such as carpentry, masonry and electrical among others.
The Superintendent of Prisons said, “This is an exciting time for us as it will allow another 60 inmates to acquire skills, make some money and provide for their families while they are incarcerated so that when they complete their sentences, they are rehabilitated and ready to restart life.”
Inmates for the programme will be chosen by the Prison Service team and interviewed by the IDC before being sent to work on the IDC-managed islands.
St Ange added that the programme will also help “reduce the population at the Montagne Posee as around 100 convicts will be going to work on the islands. This will help us improve some of the facilities at the prison that we believe are in need of improvement.”
A sum of $515,000, which was previously allocated to the development of the Coëtivy Island, will go towards the Montagne Posee prison master plan and the upgrading of the existing facilities of the prison.
Convicts working on outer islands is not something new for Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. A similar programme existed when the main prison facility was located on Long Island close to Mahe.