The commitment and transformation achieved by the Dominican Penitentiary system embody a world best practice and an example to other countries in the region.
On March the 16th, Pedro das Neves, CEO of IPS_Innovative Prison Systems, has visited the New Model of Prison Management of the Dominican Republic.
More than a decade after the country opened its first prison aimed at reducing overcrowding – designed with a focus on education and clean living conditions, and staffed by graduates from a newly created academy for penitentiary studies – the New Model of Prison Management gained recognition from other countries in the region that are also trying to reduce prison population and cut recidivism rates.
Today, the long-term commitment to change the overcrowded, inhumane and uncontrolled prisons still being operated under the “traditional penitentiary model” is still valid as the “new management model” prisons run in parallel with the “traditional model”.
Mr. das Neves visited the headquarters of the New Management Model in Los Ríos, Santo Domingo, where he had the opportunity to discuss the reform operated in the Dominican Republic as compared with other reform processes being operated in the region and in the world. Hosted by the head of the New Management Model, Dr. Ysmael Panyagua, Mr. das Neves visited the Centro de Corrección y Rehabilitación El Pinito La Vega and the prisons that constitute the Centro de Corrección y Rehabilitación Najayo hombres (both the new management and the traditional model prisons). Mr. das Neves also visited the National Penitentiary Academy where the training of penitentiary staff takes place, having had the possibility to address the promotion of deputy directors of security.
One of the singularities of the Dominican penitentiary system is the long-term commitment to change the overcrowded, inhumane and uncontrolled prisons, through the creation of an innovative system: the New Penitentiary Model (Modelo De Gestion Penitenciaria).
The new management model is being reinforced as the “traditional” one is progressively being dismantled; this process is mostly based on the creation of more humane prison conditions (new infrastructures); investment in security and reinsertion staff profiles (VTP); compulsory higher education to all levels at the organisation; independent management structures; access and implementation of education and programmes to all inmates; a progressive model aiming at inmates reinsertion, aside with a vision and long-term leadership politically supported.
The following video refers to one of the prisons (Centro de Corrección y Rehabilitación Najayo Hombres) visited (still in transition from the “traditional” to the “new management model”) and that clearly demonstrates the differences between both models.