Caribbean Umbrella Body For Restorative Behaviour (CURB) – a network of NGOs engaged in prison ministry and restorative justice activities – has recently concluded a week of public sensitisation on the issue of prison sexual abuse in commemoration of Restorative Justice Week 2007.

The theme selected for Restorative Justice Week 2007 in Trinidad and Tobago was “Not Part of the Sentence” which focuses on the need to ensure that prisoners are not sexually abused in custody and serve only the sentences imposed upon them by competent Courts of law.

To commence Restorative Justice Week, CURB hosted a panel discussion on ISAAC 98.1 FM on Sunday 18th November 2007 on the issue of male sexual assault in prison. This landmark discussion featured representatives of the Prison Reform Transformation Unit, Prisons Officers Association, a Behavioural Change Consultant, a Prison Ministry Volunteer and an Ex-Prisoner who witnessed a prison rape!

During Restorative Justice Week, CURB hosted an intensive 5-day training programme for volunteers which introduced them to competencies needed to counsel and otherwise intervene to support both survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse. The skills acquired will empower volunteers to provide timely and effective support to prison inmates who may have been sexually abused prior to going to jail as well as to those who are raped, buggered and or sexually assaulted while in prison.

The training commenced on Monday 19th November, 2007 at the Church On The Rock, Lady Young Road, Morvant and concluded on Friday 23rd November, 2007 with the distribution of certificates of participation to persons who enrolled in the programme.

CURB was privileged to secure the assistance of experienced facilitators from the Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago and Dolly and Associates Limited who vividly and creatively outlined the local scenario in relation to the incidence of and psychological effects of child and adult sexual assault and abuse. The facilitators also explained the correlation between such abuse and the demonstration of anti-social behaviour on the part of the victims which often leads to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.

To close R.J. Week, Mr. Wendell De Leon of Dolly and Associates Limited outlined the unique dynamics of sexual behaviour, assault and abuse in the context of incarceration and utilised role plays to illustrate techniques of working with survivors of such brutal sexual abuse. Moreover, he showed how prison sexual abuse contributes to re-offending by ex-prisoners who are traumatised and angry at the injustice they experience in prison.

The information shared by participants in the interactive sessions demonstrate that there is a need to address the problem of sexual assault in youth care facilities as well as adult penal institutions so as to prevent more serious crime and public health issues such as HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

This introductory training is the first of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean and will be supplemented with advanced courses in 2008 as CURB continues its indepth “Stop Prison Abuse” project to analyse and eliminate prison abuse in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

In observance of Restorative Justice Week, CURB has launched a dedicated website – – to treat with the regional problem of prison sexual and other abuses. We encourage persons who know of acts of prison sexual abuse in local prisons to contact us via telephone at 755-9906 or via email at

CURB proposes to work with local prison authorities to collect comprehensive data on the incidence, causal factors and possible solutions to eliminate prison sexual abuse. We earnestly desire to see the creation of a framework of care for survivors of sexual abuse who are in prison and the delivery of effective treatment for perpetrators of sexual abuse who are in custody.

We look forward to receiving the co-operation of the Commissioner of Prisons, the Minister of National Security and the newly appointed Minister of Social Development as we continue to work towards the restoration of persons affected by crime.