Twenty young persons from the Belmopan area visited the Central Prison in Hattieville. The visit was organized by the Belmopan Police Department. Officer in Charge, Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett spoke of the visit.
Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett – OC, Belmopan
“We want them to gain first-hand experiences of what life is inside a prison. We know for a fact that young people don’t go to the prison on visitation unless there is a family member who is behind bars. The next time they will be there and it’s very sad is if they become an inmate as a first time offender so we’ve taken them and we are very hopeful that the interaction and the speeches delivered will help to ward off these young people from or scare them off from wanting to go to prison so we are so happy for the great collaboration between the Belmopan Police and the Kolbe Foundation. These young people were handpicked, these are young people who have either been in a fight or in a skirmish previously and we want to show them that if they continue on that track, prison is where your heading to so you have an option to be out and as also told to the young people that in the prison you don’t have access. Young people love electronic devices whether it be I Pad, Cellphone, to play games, to be on social media so all that is taken away so the message is very strong today that coming to prison as an inmate is not an option
CEO of the Kolbe Foundation, which manages the Prison, Virgilio Murillo said it is the hope that the first-hand look at prison and testimonials from prisoners will have the young persons think twice about engaging in a life of crime.
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation
“The children were shown a slide show and pretty much it gave them a brief overview of what prison life is all about and what goes on in the prison and why they should stay away from bad behavior, criminal activities etc. As we all know quite a number of youths come to prison annually. Last year for argument’s sake we saw one hundred and thirty youths being sent to prison. Majority of them were for crimes of dishonesty such as robbery, burglary, and theft while the other huge number was for violent offenses and I believe with the right training, with the right insights these youths can stay away from these kinds of activities and lead a much more meaningful and productive life.”
Visits like the one today is just one of the many ways that the Belmopan Police aims to keep young persons positively engaged.