During his time as an inmate of HMP Northward, Ransdale Rankin discovered that his life didn’t have to continue on the downward path that led him to prison.
He became involved with the prison’s workshop programme, and found that his success could be translated into a means for a crime-free life on the outside.
‘I began my criminal lifestyle at a fairly young age and ended up in Northward by 1986,’ said Mr. Rankin. ‘I never gave myself a chance to do right and ended up making terrible choices.
‘But now I able to do something with my life, something positive and legal – and actually help young men that are in the same situation I was.’
Released on parole in 2004, his work in the prison workshop and dedication to rehabilitation demonstrated that he was prepared to be a role model and rejoin society, said a release from GIS.
Prison Director Dwight Scott felt confident that what he saw in this gentleman would make him an ideal leader of the workshop and so hired him as Lead Carpenter and Workshop Manager in June of that year.
Since that time, he has seen many young men come and go but, as he explained, he hopes they aren’t the same as when they entered the prison system.
‘I really try hard to work with these guys,’ he said in the release. ‘I know that just like me, they didn’t want to be locked up and forgotten about. When they get to this stage of their lives, it’s obvious they need to be reminded that they, too, can be part of this society and make a difference.
‘With this programme, they use their minds and their bodies to create something that people respect and appreciate,’ Mr. Rankin added. ‘They see this shop as a place to learn and grow, while making a change from being a negative person to a positive and hopeful one.’
One of the first projects that Mr. Rankin led prisoners on since taking on this leadership role was renovating the Prison Training Centre’s living quarters. This included a complete remodelling of the buildings and interior.
Using one inmate’s architectural talents and skills nurtured through the workshop programme, a small group of prisoners were able to do everything in house. The new design called for enclosing a porch to increase living space; retiling; painting and electrical work.
‘When you see the quality of work Mr. Rankin is able to elicit from the inmates, it is quite impressive,’ said Mr. Scott. ‘Every aspect of his work demonstrates his commitment to providing quality.’
One of Mr. Rankin’s more lucrative orders for the workshop was The Ritz-Carlton’s request for portable barbeque/food preparation bars. The five-star hotel’s managers were so impressed with the quality that they have placed another work order, and discussed other projects as well.
From cabinets and tiling to installation of equipment, Mr. Rankin is leading the inmates towards a skill set that can help them when they return to life on the outside, Mr. Scott emphasised.
‘He has made an invaluable contribution by giving these young people a means at reintegrating into society following a prison sentence. He is an example that I hope future inmates will follow.’