Prisoners released for Christmas

December 22, 2017
This St Thomas man was arrested for Breach of the Copyright Act, while trying to get to money to care for his family. Kivette Silvera (left), director of finance at Food For The Poor, Jamaica and Staff Officer Morris Walters (right) from Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre speak with him as he leaves his cell.
The Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in downtown Kingston.

A St Thomas man who was imprisoned for selling bootleg DVDs will be reunited with his family this Christmas.

The man, whose identity has not been disclosed, is among 261 non-violent prisoners across the region who will be home for the holidays, thanks to Food For The Poor and the generous donors who support the charity's prison ministry.

"I hustle and sell copied movies in the town of St Thomas to provide for my parents and my daughter. While I know that selling movies is illegal, I didn't see any other way to help my family, so the police caught up with me one day, and I was charged with it," the unidentified man said.

He was arrested last month for breach of the Copyright Act and later imprisoned after he failed to pay the $150,000 fine.

The man also said that being away from his family was a challenge. While in prison, he received a Bible that he said he read every day. Upon learning that he would be released from the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre after his fine was paid by the compassionate donors of Food For The Poor, he was overcome with emotion.

"I am overjoyed right now, and I am very grateful for this opportunity," he said. "If I had just listened to my father in the first place, I would not be here. God answers prayers."

Seventeen non-violent prisoners were released from prisons in Jamaica for the Christmas holidays.

For 19 years, Food For The Poor has honoured the tradition of securing the release of non-violent offenders in Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, and Jamaica by paying their accumulated fines for Christmas.

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