Saint Lucia Launches Community ReEntry Program For Offenders

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Youth Resilience, Inclusion and Empowerment (Y-RIE) program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment (MESJE) launched the Community ReEntry Program (C-REP).

The program will reintegrate approximately 20 individuals between the ages of 18-35 who are completing sentences at correctional facilities or have recently been released.

This pilot program will offer 18 months of services including tailored case management, life skills, vocational and remedial education training, entrepreneurial support, career counselling, community engagement, psychosocial support, and basic needs support.

The services will provide participants with the resources to re-enter their communities and reduce the likelihood of reoffending. C-REP is being implemented by the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) and will engage partners from multiple agencies.

At the program launch, C-REP was cited as more than just a re-entry program but a commitment to empower individuals to transform their lives and positively reintegrate into society.

The event brought together government officials, community leaders, and stakeholders to support this turning point in promoting second chances, social justice, and community well-being. “This multi-agency partnership is key to the success of the program and represents the whole-of-government approach needed for addressing today’s most challenging issues,” said Phelps Feeley, Chief of Party (COP), Y-RIE. “Most notably, I want to recognise and commend the C-REP participants for dedicating themselves to this endeavour, their futures and to the benefit of Saint Lucia,” added the COP.

C-REP will address the critical gap in cross-agency support for the rehabilitation and reintegration of adult offenders in Saint Lucia.

Community involvement is also recognised as crucial for the success of C-REP. Partners will prioritise mainstreaming areas of support into the functions of the collaborating agencies and sustain this support in the long term.

As part of the inter-agency partnership framework, SSDF will collaborate with the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF), Probation and Parole Services in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, the Boys Training Centre (BTC), the James Belgrave Micro Enterprise Development Fund (BELFund) at the MESJE, the Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education (CARE), and the National Skills Development Centre of the Ministry of Education.

These partners will collectively ensure a holistic approach to rehabilitation and community reintegration.

The USAID Y-RIE program was formally launched in Saint Lucia in February 2023. Y-RIE is working with government and non-government partners to strengthen social services that serve youth and their families, improve learning outcomes for youth, improve youth preparedness for the world-of-work, and strengthen the resilience of families and communities.

These efforts by Y-RIE and the Government of Saint Lucia to create safer communities include a suite of competencies to build youth agency, address family dysfunction, improve community cohesion and build capacity in Government to lead and sustain interventions.

SOURCE: United States Agency for International Development/SLT