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Dames: Months away from new prison commissioner

The government’s local and international recruitment process for a new commissioner of corrections won’t see someone hired for “a few months”, said Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday.

“It’s going extremely well,” Dames told reporters outside Cabinet.

“We have the advertisement. The advertisement should be out now and we’re in search of a new commissioner for The Bahamas Department of Corrections.

“The Bahamas Department of Corrections is going through major transitional changes.

“It has to because we’re transitioning from a penal institution to a more correctional institution and we’re looking at moving this particular institution into the modern era, as promised by this government and we will do just that.”

Commissioner of Corrections Patrick Wright is on pre-retirement leave.

Asked whether there is a timeline for when the new commissioner will take office, Dames said, “The advertisement should be out for a period of four to six weeks and then we will have to mull through all of the returns and begin the process and it’s a few months out before we do that.”

Dames was also asked about the government’s plans to build a new prison facility.

“As a government, we are in the business of not reacting from the gut,” he said.

“We have to look at what it is we are up against.

“We are carrying out any number of studies in relation to The Bahamas Department of Corrections.

“We are working under the citizen security project. In addition to that, we’re working with Corrections Canada, who have been assisting us tremendously in the modernization of the prison.

“We’re doing things internally within the Ministry of National Security. We’re looking at legislation. We are looking at making amendments to those legislation that impact upon the correctional services.

“So we’re not going to overreact or just react spontaneously, we are taking a measured approach.

“We are taking a research-driven approach, to help us get to where we need to go, because at the end of the day, we don’t want to just spend for spending money’s sake. We are trying to modernize, we are trying to professionalize this institution.”

The government has engaged a former regional deputy commissioner for the Correctional Service of Canada to consult the Minnis administration as it transforms the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services from a punitive institution to a rehabilitative facility.

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