BY: MORRO ML MINTEH
The Gambia Prison Fellowship the Gambia, on Saturday September 15th 2018, graduated 26 inmates at the State’s Central Prison at Mile II, through the Sycamore Tree Project’s New Leaf (STP New Leaf) Programme.
The Director of Prisons Ansumana Manneh said STP New Leaf, was organized with the aim of reforming prisoners and restoring the dignity of offenders; that it is aimed to repair the pain / harm inflicted on victims through restorative approach and, rebuilt the Community by restoring and reconciling relations.
He said the inmates have undergone eight sessions of unfeigned conversations that has earned them a deep understanding of the ripple effects of crime, how to take responsibility of their actions, how to make amends for their wrong doings, and how to forgive even if they have been victimized.
Dr. Abrham Abbew in his statement said, prisoners should know that their offence doesn’t determined that they are bad people, in the Community. “Every human being is sinner, but good sinners are those who repent themselves to Allah,” he said. He concluded with the famous saying that the down fall of man, is not end of his life.
Speaking on behalf of Prisoners, Bubaccarr Barry and Mustafa Cham both said that they’ve have realized changes through the project which preaches about peace, tranquility and how to rebuild themselves, that they’ve learned numerous experience which they’ve never seen or heard before; that they have learnt about restorative justice and that this has opened their minds for the future, while promising to stay away from trouble and every negative behavior that will retard their progress.
The Permanent Secretary on behalf of the Minister of Interior, said the training will help them reduce the rate of crime. He encouraged the prisoners to be law abiding when they are out of prison.
Delivering his statement at close of the ceremony, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, highlighted that to be a prisoner, doesn’t determined the end of one’s life; that Prisons is a place for rehabilitation and correction. He urged the Director General of Prison to continue the program for prison inmates, and assured that “the National Assembly will stand to assist them anyhow,” he said.