Inmates form cooperative in Mayagüez Detention Center
By John McPhaul
Six inmates of the Western Detention Center in Mayagüez, have formed a cooperative under the Cooperative Development Commission (CDCOOP), the first of its kind in this correctional institution, with the objective of producing and marketing agricultural products, said the commission on Monday.
The new agro cooperative, called New Generation Multicoop Farmers (NG Coop), joins the eight already existing in the facilities, seven of which are diverse and two juveniles.
“Under this social business model, NG Coop members will have the opportunity to promote their agricultural project and, through the principles of cooperativism, acquire leadership skills, parliamentary processes and economic models that will help them in their rehabilitation process and future incorporation into the free community,” explained Glorimar Lamboy Torres, commissioner of the CDCOOP in written statements.
In addition to promoting associated work, the formation of this cooperative implies the need to seek educational agreements to develop a training plan that allows the acquisition of knowledge and managerial skills. The secretary of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DCR), Ana Escobar Pabón, sees in these cooperatives an additional alternative of rehabilitation and potential source of employment once the sentence is served.
During the ceremony of incorporation of the cooperative, the inmates expressed their satisfaction at being able to start a company. Travis Bonilla, president of NG Coop, thanked both CDCOOP and DCR for their help and support throughout the cooperative formation process.
“Creating this cooperative is an important step for the rehabilitation of the inmates. In the coming weeks, workshops will begin to manage the entire administrative part of NG Coop, hand-in-hand with our specialists,” concluded Lamboy Torres, who also chairs the Board of Directors of the Corporation for the Supervision and Insurance of Cooperatives in Puerto Rico (Cossec).