Two officers from His Majesty’s Prison in the Virgin Islands have successfully completed an intensive three-week Control and Restraint (C&R) training course in Bermuda. Acting Principal Officers Ms. Alan Jackson and Mr. Kesena Okoro acquired the latest techniques in officer safety, de-escalation, and personal protection.

Superintendent Mr. Jay Kendall highlighted the significance of Ms. Jackson being the first female officer from the territory to complete this specialized programme. “This achievement underscores our commitment to improving decency, respect and equality within the Virgin Islands Prison Service,” he stated.  

Kendall added that promoting equality and inclusion remains a top priority, noting close collaboration with the Office of Gender Affairs to cultivate a more inclusive environment at the prison facility.

The trained officers will now work alongside the superintendent’s team to retrain all operational staff in the control and restraint methods. This is expected to enhance overall safety and security measures within the territory’s prison.

The superintendent expressed gratitude for the support from the Ministry of Health & Social Development and the UK Ministry of Justice overseas justice programme which enabled this valuable training initiative. He also thanked colleagues in Bermuda for hosting and welcoming participants from various British Overseas Territories.

“This exemplifies our dedication to enhancing professionalism and safety within the Virgin Islands’ prison system,” Kendall said. “I look forward to further collaboration benefitting our staff and operations.”

Acting Permanent Secretary Tasha Bertie of the Ministry of Health and Social Development voiced the ministry’s full backing, recognizing how critical staff training is for fostering a secure environment benefitting both personnel and prisoners.  

“The ministry was happy to provide financial resources ensuring officers gain skills to protect their well-being and effectively safeguard individuals under their supervision,” Bertie stated.

The training aligns with a recent government initiative requiring all public officers to pursue annual professional development. It is part of a comprehensive training and development plan for continuous improvement across the prison service.