Justice and Public Safety
May 1, 2018

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General

Minister Parsons Recognizes Importance of Woodworking Program at Her Majesty's Penitentiary

Mr. Speaker, when people think of Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, there is usually an immediate focus on the well-known and obvious issues with the facility. I would like to take the opportunity today to speak about a positive initiative at HMP – the woodworking program.

The inmates who are accepted into the program spend four to six hours per day in the shop, giving them an opportunity to make something from nothing. Working in the shop is calming, therapeutic and relaxing. Inmates who work there have fewer disciplinary issues.

The program has built furniture for the Dunphy Inquiry, Muskrat Falls Inquiry, Family Court in St. John’s and our House of Assembly committee room. One of the special projects for inmates is their work on the floats for the St. John’s Santa Claus Parade as their families get to see the finished products.

Mr. Speaker, I have personally visited the trade shops at our correctional facilities across the province. I have spoken with inmates that participate in these programs about how they benefit from the work and the pride they feel due to the positive impacts they have on their communities. As well, inmates are developing skills that they can use when they leave custody and are being provided with a sense of purpose as they serve their sentences.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to give a special thank you to Correctional Officer Steve Martin who is in charge of the shop at HMP. He is extremely talented and committed to this important program.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

2018 05 01                                                    1:50 p.m.