Female inmates at Fairbanks Prison now have access to a number of vocational programmes.
These include an achievement centre equipped with computers, a cosmetology training centre, and a sewing training centre.
These were all unveiled at the opening of the vocational workshops at Fairbanks last week.
The beauty salon is named after the late Sonia Foster (former prison officer), the Achievement Centre for former prison officer Lorris Dorman and the sewing room is named Fairbanks Lead Officer, Hyacinth Williamson in honour of their dedication and hard work at HMP.
Dressed in smart white shirts, black skirts and sporting fashionable hair styles, which they had all achieved through the vocational programme, the 12 inmates beamed with appreciation.
‘There are times in our lives when we make decisions that have consequences that results to imprisonment but being in prison does not determine who we are. It’s punishment for the wrong choices we have made,’ said female inmate Leticia Jarred in her appreciation address.
‘Here at HMP Fairbanks we are given a second chance to make inner and outer changes in our lives, imprisonment is a hard way of starting over but the greatest thing is overcoming obstacles in our lives for it’s not how many times you may fall, it’s how many times you pick yourself up and move forward to a better and productive life and citizens of our country.
‘We are not prisoners of our past but pioneers of our futures, today is a step closer to becoming pioneers of our future.’
Female inmate Hilma Carter said ‘Without a doubt these new centres will provide wonderful opportunities for us to become skilled certified professionals. It will be up to us to take these opportunities to work hard with teachers to develop our skills and better or selves.’
Female inmate Gail Ross also added, ‘Just because we are in prison does not mean we’re to give up No! Yes, we have made mistakes in our lives but it is full time we put our past behind and move forward and make our future brighter.’
Director of Prisons Dwight Scott encouraged the inmates to embrace the choices and opportunities that would keep them away from prison and to use them to further themselves in society.
Acting Governor, Mr. George McCarthy said, ‘Don’t look to the past look to the future. Build on the gift of mind that God has given you. These skills can be very rewarding for you. The programmes are extensive and will equip you with much needed life skills.’
The cosmetology room, decorated in an orange decor holds state-of-the-art equipment with separate stations for use in hair care, manicures, and pedicures.
The sewing room beautifully adorned with orange curtains, which the inmates constructed themselves, also has the latest in sewing equipment. Four work stations and cutting tables displayed materials and accessories available to inmates.
After the cutting of the ribbons and brief tour of the facilities, guest joined inmates for refreshments.