Georgetown, Guyana; – Contrary to the goals of reforming convicts in an effort to make them into better persons before reentry into society, the Guyana Prison system is apparently doing the opposite.
At least this is the view of several former inmates with whom the Guyana Guardian has spoken to, in a bid to determine whether their incarceration had made them into better persons.
By their accounts, and the independent cross examination of several court records from 2012 to now, this publication was able to determine that at least 75% of all first time offenders who would have served time in prison or had spend at least a month on remand for the first time, have ended up right back into prison thereafter for sometimes more violent offences.
As a matter of fact, available data seems to support the belief that at least 90% of the persons who are currently on remand for robbery or were imprisoned for robbery are persons who were previously imprisoned or remanded at the same facility for other minor or similar offences in the past.
By comparison, robbery convicts are believed to be the largest group of repeat offenders when compared to persons who are currently being held for murder, narcotics, and other classes of serious offences.
But while this figure may seem odd, former inmates are laying the blame squarely at the feet of the entire prison system, which they describe as nothing more than an inadvertent recruitment centre for young criminals.
According to one of the ex-cons, persons who are brought to the prison for the first time are not counseled by prison authorities or a support officer in a bid to commence the process of reforming them. Instead they are often analyzed by other seasoned criminals in a bid to determine their social backgrounds, economic circumstances, and work history, among other things.
And those who are found to be socially detached, entrenched in poverty, have an inclination to gain from crime or and is reliant on substances such as marijuana, are often readily drafted into a brotherhood whose principles are rested upon sworn secrecy and allegiance to a life-threatening criminal code.
Once incorporated into the brotherhood, the new inductees are then allowed to enjoy special meals, access to smuggled phones, and marijuana use among other things, almost without any limitations.
“Dem man does give these youths this weed and thing, and dem youth-man does get more confidence and love fuh de brotherhood. So dem does ready fuh do crime fuh dem man”, said Gully bop, the street name of one of the former inmates who is now a roadside drug addict roaming the streets of Georgetown.
He explained that once a criminal inductee would have enjoyed the luxury of good treatment from the brotherhood in prison, he becomes obligated to reward the brotherhood by raising monies to support other member inmates by committing robberies or other crimes when released from prison, even if it means against their own families and friends.
In other cases, young inductees would simply divulge the financial and internal security information for a family member, former employer or business entity in a community, in addition to providing logistical details or logistical support so that a fellow gang member of the criminal brotherhood can flawlessly execute a robbery or break in.
Another former inmate who prefers to remain anonymous explained that the criminal brotherhood maintains a strict financial system that is upheld by a selected gang of trusted women who are tasked with paying legal fees or bail for affected members of the criminal occult.
Question on why the police is unable to crack such an enterprise, he suffice that all the police have to do for a start is look at the names of the group of women who continues to bail the same group of people that are involved in only one particular type of offence, and they will get a good lead from there for a start.
But on the other hand, he thinks that any real attempts to bring down the brotherhood might be an exercise in futility, since there are people within the police and the prison system that are huge benefactors from the gangs operations.
And even so, new gang members are inducted almost every single day into the underworld grouping, in any case.
So as soon as law enforcement cuts down the head of one, three more will automatically arise.