Rasool Ebbin, 28, and Steven O’Neil, 27, spoke about their time with the Right House Living Programme. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Rasool Ebbin, 28, and Steven O’Neil, 27, spoke about their time with the Right House Living Programme. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

THURSDAY, NOV. 15: Prisoners today spoke of their gratitude of being able to start over thanks to a rehabilitation programme at the Prison Farm.

Rasool Ebbin, 28, and Steven O’Neil, 27, are both part of the Right House Living Programme at the Ferry Reach Facility.

The Right Living House is a therapeutic community that expects offenders to display responsible, appropriate behaviour at all times.

It opened its doors summer 2009 and received its first admissions in January 2010.

Both men spoke at the open house of the programme this afternoon.

Mr O’Neil, of Sandys, was locked up for robbery. He told the crowd he doesn’t enjoy public speaking but said: “I want to start by expressing how grateful I am to be a resident.

“I know there is hope for me and others like me who have been struggling to find a better way.”

Mr O’Neil said when he first arrived, he wasn’t into the programme but that changed.

“After a few days here, I began to have a new outlook on life.

“I am truly grateful and appreciative for the vision and dedication of the late Clarence Davis because without him and others, I might have missed the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Mr Ebbin, also in for robbery, spoke of his struggles with drug addiction.

“As I stand before you today, I stand as a man who was terribly addicted to drugs and criminality.

“It all changed when I was privileged to be a part of this.

“When I walked through that gate, I found purpose and hope.”

He continued: “Being a part of this programme is giving me the opportunity to get it right this time around.

“I would implore you today to stay tuned because the best is yet to come.”

Since the programme began, there have been 45 admissions with 19 completing it successfully and 15 currently in the process.

It is a partnership between the Department of National Drug Control and the Department of Corrections.

Minister Kim Wilson spoke at the ceremony and said: “Together, these two agencies set out to lessen the corrosive impact of drug abuse and crime in our community.”

There are three phases of the programme, said director Laura Sikora.

The first is orientation to see if it will be a good fit for the offender.

The second phase is primary treatment where risk factors are assessed and substance abuse treatment begins.

The final phase is to transition the offenders back into the community by work release programmes and volunteering.

“Any way that we can touch a life and help make changes here, we are certainly here to do that”, she added.

Prison Commissioner Edward Lamb said the programme is about transforming lives from “where they were to where they are going”.

“I don’t see drug addicts and people who broke laws.

“They have to answer for their crimes but I see hope and the future of our country.

“I see beautiful men who can make a contribution to our community.”