On arrival at the facilities, Mr. Bangura was well received by top officials of the institution. Welcoming the delegates,Regional Commander Mr. ( Name needed………… ) Conteh thanked the CEO and Team for honoring the invitation; this he said will change the course of history for his institution. As planned,the team was taken on a conducted tour to the various departments around the correctional center.
The first point of visit was the catering department, where inmates were busy cleaning up fish which would later be cooked for other inmates. Highlighting the importance of involving the inmates in the food preparation process, Mr Conteh said, “We want to create greater accountability and assurance that the inmates would not feel that some inappropriate content is being put into their food. But most importantly, we look forward to seeing a situation where they can become professional caterers, thus creating an opportunity to acquire skills that will earn them a living when eventually they are released, rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.”
The team also visited the Medical Services Department where sick inmates are treated. Other Departments visited were the Arts and Craft, Shoe Making, Metal Workshop, Carpentry and Tailoring Departments.The Life-by-Design Team was impressed to see artisans designing bags and shoes that were of quite high standards; welders and carpenters constructing railings, doors, chairs and other items for the prisons school and offices.
Commenting on the huge potential and talents currently being nurtured in the Correctional Services, Mr Conteh said, “We were looking to get opportunities for these products to be showcased and marketed to the public, resulting in enhancing the revenue-generating potential of the inmates and the prison facilities. This is where we think Life-by-Design can be of great help.”
“All our uniforms are sewn by the inmates. You wouldn’t believe the potential that is hidden within these walls waiting to unfold,” Dennis Harman, Head of Research and Planning exclaimed.
While in the Tailoring department, Mr. Joe Abass Bangura sharedwith inmates the importance of changing their minds.
“Your mind,” he said,“is where everything starts.”Narrating a story from a book he had read titledThe Richest Man in Babylon;Mr Banguraillustrated that true transformation actually starts in the human mind and within it lies the power to alter destinies. He urged them to draw inspiration from such storiesto better their lives and alter their future, ending with prayers for the inmates.
Climaxing the visit, the team stopped by the Library Department where Mr. Banguramet a young man who had been incarcerated for the past 18 months for obtaining money by false pretense and he was now looking forward to his release in six months. Expressing remorse for his actions, the young man expressed how determined he was to continue with hisCertified Accounting Technician (CAT)course and vowed to continue to become a better person once he stepped out of the walls of prison. In his response, Mr. Joe Abass Bangura encouraged young man to pay him a visit at his office as soon as he got out of prison.
“These stories have enormous potential to enable other young people to see the clear link between our choices and where we end up in life and enable them to take positive actions to transform their lives so they don’t get to repeat their previous mistakes,” Mr. Bangura concluded. “We are excited to see what we can do in this partnership with the Correctional Services.”