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‘There are people who will try to kill me when I get out’

For one Westgate prisoner, the facility’s assistance with finding work cannot ease the fear of release. “There are people who will try to kill me when I get out,” he said.

Even so, the former hospitality industry worker said he appreciated the Community Reintegration Fair offered by Westgate.

“I’m going to check out the tourism table and see what’s available,” he said.

The fair is set up to put inmates in touch with private and public agencies that can help them adjust to their release. Yesterday’s event was the seventh of its kind to be held at Westgate over the last three years.

Few inmates were prepared to be named, but most expressed gratitude. “It seems to have a diverse portfolio,” said inmate Jamel Nisbett, surveying the room of tables. “I have a passion for nutrition and fitness. They offer programmes in various areas that touch on that.”

Another inmate, asking not to be named, said: “This is all new to me. I didn’t know what we were coming in here for. I haven’t spoken to anybody yet, I’m just checking it out. But yes, they do take time to help us here.”

Michael Keesee, who took interest in the Dreaming in Colour life skills programme stall with case worker Kenlyn Butterfield, told

The Royal Gazette: “Ms Butterfield has some really good stuff. “There is an anger management programme which I am looking at. I also talked to the Bermuda Housing people, and they had all the information on hand. Every question I asked, they answered right off.”

Asked what he had been interested in, Mr Keesee said: “Low income housing. I needed information there. I go up for sentencing in April so, God willing, I will get time served.”

Not all inmates were impressed with the fair, however. Asked what he saw on offer, one replied: “This is just a publicity stunt, to say they’re trying to help us.”

Another, a repeat offender who said he preferred to remain anonymous, was expecting release soon after being in jail since 2007. “I have done three sentences,” he said. “All together I’ve done 15 years. I never had any work release, nothing. I don’t have anything that’s going to get me a job. What’s going to happen to me when I get out? Back to the same?”

When he was told that assistance was available, he said it was too late. “They offer training prior to release. I get out in a couple of months.”

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Published March 29, 2012 at 9:49 am (Updated March 29, 2012 at 9:49 am)

‘There are people who will try to kill me when I get out’

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