Prison Break

Fourteen prisoners were feted at a ceremony held in Castlerea prison last week. The 14 young men recently completed a four-month ‘Start your own business’ course in the prison and were presented with their certificates by Dr. Thomas Cooney of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship.  Roscommon County Enterprise Board, the Department of Social and Family Affairs, and the HSE were also involved in the co-ordination of the pilot educational programme, which was directed under the auspices of the ‘You’re Equal’ scheme. Speaking at the conferral of the certificates on the 14 prisoners, Dr. Cooney warmly complimented each of them and praised them for participating ‘so actively’ in the programme. He noted that the men have prepared for establishing their own businesses and that the course has thus given them ‘another option’ to pursue at the end of their custodial sentences. Peter Wrafter and Eileen Finan of Roscommon County Enterprise Board, Noel Connolly of Roscommon Partnership, Eamon Fahy of the Department of Social and Family Affairs, and prison governor Dan Scannell attended the ceremony in the prison cafeteria last Thursday morning.  The motivational speaker Mark Pollock, MComm was also present. Castlerea Prison’s ‘Start your own business’ course consisted of nine workshops that were conducted over the course of three months. The 14 prisoners were taught to apply their skills and talents to business. Financial planning, goal-setting, business strategy and business planning were addressed in the course of the programme. Prisoners also worked extensively on developing their practical skills, and wonderfully impressive stonework, carpentry products, and other items created by the 14 men were shown to visitors on Thursday morning. A hugely impressive, professional, and attractive business plan developed by three of the prisoners was also shown to guests at the function in Castlerea. Tributes were paid to Officers Waters and Hanlon at the event. These two officers were closely involved in the co-ordination of the programme and assisted the 14 men with their work since July.