Income generation project for prison inmates

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Updated: August 20, 2015

When the public hears of the Kolbe Foundation, it is centered on work they do, that of managing the Belize Central Prison. Love News visited the prison where we got a closer look and some of what goes on behind the prison walls.  Chief Executive Officer, Virgilo Murrillo told us about the efforts they have been making in trying to change lives.

Virgilio Murrillo – CEO, Kolbe Foundation

Kolbe foundation has taken a stance to try and see how we can rebuild those lives or how we can turn these lives around so that they can go back into society and be more productive and law abiding and of course to remain with their family and be there for them and be there to have that contact with them and see their children grow.”

The Central Prison also makes caskets for purchase to the wider community, as this is a form of income generation for the inmates. Murillo told us about the different programs that the Kolbe foundation provides for the inmates.

 Virgilio Murrillo – CEO, Kolbe Foundation

“We try to offer programs and these programs that you saw earlier; block making, wood work, artistry, we have a poultry program, beside that we have the rehabilitation program the addiction rehabilitation program. We have the inner change for freedom Belize program. We have literacy programs we offer quite a lot of programs and all of these programs are geared toward trying to show these guys another way of life rather than taking your time to continue live in negativity we try to let them look at the educational program, the rehab programs and hold on to them and try to see if we can leave the prison with a different mindset than they came in with.”

Love News spoke to inmate Elijah Miller who paints in his free time as a trade.

Elijah Miller – Inmate

“I just love to paint and this is what I do to show my art to the world and to the people how we can improve ourselves. We made mistakes in life but it does not bring down a human we just have to rehabilitation for a better life, when I come out here I learnt something new so that way I can be better. It takes me day by day because all I have right now is my paint brush and the paints, my parents have died already and my loved ones are far away so this is what I help myself with. This is what makes me happy. When my paintbrushes get hard my life gets hard and when my paintbrushes are soft life seems to go easier because this is what I love to do and the people are giving me an opportunity to do things that I love the most and that is the best thing that God can offer for me.”.

Murrillo told Love News it is their aim to provide a secure, humane facility geared towards meaningful rehabilitation and successful re-integration. Funds received from the sales of goods produced by the inmates are kept in an account for them as savings.