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Inmates express interest in more educational programs, researchers say

Researchers at the University of The Bahamas yesterday expressed interest in continuing a program at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services they hope would decrease the number of reoffenders.

Dr. Craig Smith, professor of English studies, said following the completion of a literary study he did at the prison, many inmates expressed an interest in having more educational programs.

“Definitely, they wanted us to come back and do this,” said Smith as he presented at the launch of the 24th volume of the International Journal of Bahamian Studies (IJBS).

He said that many of the inmates who participated in his “Shakespeare Behind Bars” study expressed interest in having dance classes, information and technology, GRE or acting classes available to them while incarcerated.

Smith said he and his research partner, Dr. Philip Smith, also a professor in English studies, were open to the idea of continuing the program and including inmates serving life sentences.

“I think there can be more,” Dr. Craig Smith said.

“Just because someone is going to be [in prison] for life, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have access as well, and hopefully, as we develop the program, I hope there is a way we can serve that community as well.”

The study aimed to engage inmates in the literary analysis practice.

It determined that many of the inmates tended to relate closely to the characters they believed to be incarcerated in the Shakespearean text they analyzed, and it also suggested an increased likelihood of improved behavior by inmates as well as lower the likelihood of recidivism after release.

UB President Dr. Rodney Smith said such research demonstrates the significance of the journal to the country.

“The International Journal of Bahamian Studies is really an avenue not only for us to learn more of our culture and our socialization in The Bahamas, but to be able to share some of the richness of our country’s culture and heritage as well,” Smith said.

“It also gives faculty members an opportunity to engage in more in-depth research and actually have it published in a reputable journal.”

Managing Editor of the IJBS Dr. Raymond Oenbring said the journal is “uniquely Bahamian” as it builds connections between Bahamian research community and researchers around the globe.

He said he hopes this volume of the journal encourages not only more local, but also international research into topics related to The Bahamas.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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