Prisoners at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in Kingstown, Jamaica, are running a new community radio station as part of a rehabilitation and education project.
The project, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, is being run by the Jamaican Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and UNESCO in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
The station, unveiled on 22 June, uses a Community Multimedia Centre at the corrections facility. In addition to teaching inmates new skills, the station is expected to help connect them with fellow inmates, their families, churches and the broader society. The project is part of the DCS Life Skills Programme, aims to help smooth re-entry into society for prisoners who have completed their terms.
According to UNESCO, “the production and broadcasting of programs will be done primarily by inmates and correctional officers who are at present being trained by external and internal stakeholders including personnel from ROOTS FM.” Participants are expected to learn production and broadcast skills, including developing and writing content, editing, script preparation and interviewing techniques.
UNESCO hopes to expand the project to other correctional institutions and linking the prisons via radio and broadband Internet connections so that radio programming can be generated at each institutions and distributed through out the system.