Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield has called out the hypocrisy of MCAST’s firing of an ex-inmate, saying the government shouldn’t send out conflicting messages about the reintegration of prisoners into society.
Brian Bartolo, who was convicted for drug-related reasons, had begun studying at MCAST while serving his sentence and was then offered a full-time contract as a tradesperson last January.
However, a little over a month later, Bartolo received a notice of termination, citing that they had ‘no legal grounds’ upon which to retain him as an employee after his release from prison.
In Parliament today, Bedingfield said that Bartolo was told in his face that the real reason behind the termination of his contract was his criminal record.
“On one hand, the government through the work of the so-called Corradino Correctional Facility, is making an effort to give convicts a second chance…and another government entity is doing the opposite.”
“Of course, I do not intend to interfere with the management’s prerogatives for whom they employ…but I do wish to say that government entities must work in tandem.”
“This man has graduated and is taking a Master’s degree to continue succeeding because he was given the opportunity to dream, he did voluntary work at MCAST and wants to keep contributing to society. Yet a government entity is stopping him. What message are we sending? That government entities don’t work hand in hand.
Bedingfied stressed the need for policies to be followed through by all government counterparts to avoid such conflicts.
“If there exists policy for reformed prisoners, then this must be followed by all other entities to ensure Social Corporate Responsibility.”
Bedingfield also mentioned that he spoke to Bartolo personally about the situation, to which he told him:
“I know what I did and where I came from. I studied to move on from where I was and I do not want to go back there.”