CFEO Training Day – Trinidad

On Monday 22nd November, 2010 Caring for Ex-Offenders (CFEO) held its first Caring for Ex-Offenders Training Day for faith and community based organisations at the Prisons Training College, Bandoo Avenue, Tumpuna Road, Arima.

The event was held in partnership with Caribbean Umbrella Body for Restorative Behaviour (CURB) and Prison Fellowship Trinidad and Tobago and obtained the kind sponsorship of the Trinidad and Tobago Prisons Service and the Penal Reform and Transformation Unit.

Registration of Delegates

The purpose of the training was to impart to the attendees a clear understanding of restorative justice and community justice and the needs of ex-offenders and to empower faith based and community based organisations to safely support ex-offenders in their communities.

The event commenced about 9:30 am and lasted until just after 4:00 pm and was very well patronised with up to 170 persons in attendance at its peak; well over the initial target of 120 persons!

Group shot of the delegates

Delegates came from faith based organisations, community based organisations, CURB, Prison Fellowship, the Council of Prison Chaplains and Ministers (COPCAM), the Prisons Service, Penal Reform and Transformation Unit, Probation Services, Community Mediation and others.

The UK presenters of Ms. Merilyn “Emmy” Wilson, Rev. John Sephton, Mr. Oscar Vickerman and Ms Theresa Harvey shared with local stakeholders the Caring for Ex-Offenders model of aftercare which originated with Holy Trinity Brompton, Alpha International and the charity, Caring for Ex-Offenders, in the UK.

Emmy Wilson of the UK and Gordon Husbands of Penal Reform & Transformation Unit

The success of the model in that country to dramatically reduce rates of re-offending through faith based mentoring and support has led to it being endorsed by Home Office, Police and other officials in the UK. It is also in use in South Africa, the USA, Canada and Singapore.

The model as used in the UK is complemented with programmes for ex-offenders and other church members to address family challenges, drug counselling and financial management, all from a biblical perspective.

Local presenters included Mr. Adrian Alexander, President of the local Caring for Ex-Offenders (as well as Chairman of the Board of CURB), Mr. Gordon Husbands of the Penal Reform and Transformation Unit, Mrs. Jacinta Bailey-Sobers of the Ministry of the People and Social Development, Ms. Claire Blandin of the Probation Division of the Ministry of Justice and Mr. Richard Barker of New Hope Prison Ministry.

Deputy P.S. in Ministry of the People & Social Development, Mrs. Jacinta Bailey-Sobers

The CFEO model has been modified for use in this country to take into account the unique cultural and other dynamics of our people. In particular, emphasis will be placed on empowering ex-offenders to take responsibility for their actions, make amends to their primary and secondary victims and become active participants in strengthening the national community.

We recognise that a networking of faith based organisations to assist ex-offenders in their safe reintegration is an essential component to add to the Cabinet approved “Turning Of The Hearts” programme to treat with the high rate of re-offending.

Churches which are interested in working with ex-offenders are encouraged to register with CFEO at our website. Those which do so shall be included in a national directory and shall receive training for their members in mentoring ex-offenders and other core skills in the new year.

The registered faith-based organisations will also receive a Caring for Ex-Offenders Handbook with the names and contact details of key State agencies and civil society stakeholders as well as ongoing support from the local CFEO ministry.

Community based and non-governmental organisations which wish to work with ex-offenders were encouraged to become involved with CURB to form part of a national NGO/CBO directory to lend support to faith based organisations.

Participation in this Training Day allowed CFEO an opportunity to share the work we do with a wider audience through the Restorative Justice Exhibition which formed part of the event.

UK delegates & others with the CFEO Training Day banner

This RJ Exhibition allowed several participating NGOs to display their brochures and other promotional materials for the benefit of the State and faith based representatives who attended the Training Day.

CFEO looks forward to working along with CURB and other organisations in the new year towards developing minimum standards of training for volunteers to work with offenders as well as ex-offenders and their families.

Published in: on November 23, 2010 at 8:21 am  Comments Off on CFEO Training Day – Trinidad  
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