14 May 2018 | The Jamaica Observer reported that the North Bronx Seventh-day Adventist Church is teaming up with two Jamaican organizations in New York City to prevent incarceration among young adults through an information campaign.

“The aim is to bring awareness to these vulnerable groups about the consequences of incarceration,” said president of the Ex-Correctional Officers Association of Jamaica, Ronnie Hammick, Mark A Parkinson of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association and Benjamin Powell, senior elder of the North Bronx church.

The combined groups are planning to put on a June 30 seminar featuring several speakers who will address the dangers of incarceration and how to avoid it.

Powell said that topics will include “Good Decision-Making” and “Accountability and Integrity.” The seminar will also tackle the way prison can ruin lives by hurting families and their finances. It will address the loss of freedom and the stigma that comes with incarceration.

Featured speakers will be law enforcement officers, staff from the Family Unification and Resettlement Initiative (a nonprofit that helps integrate returned deportees into Jamaica and other Caribbean nations) and former inmates.

Organizers are hoping for a large turnout. “This is imperative because we think the message needs to go out in a big way so we can save as many of our young people from incarceration,” said Hammick.

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