Paths to Character: Promoting Agency, Trust and Hope for Incarcerated Barbadian Adolescents through Community Engagement

Director: Halimah DeShong

Institution: University of the West Indies

In recent decades, science has presented abundant evidence that youth are capable of reshaping their lives despite challenging environments and disadvantages. Yet many young offenders in Barbados remain incarcerated in so-called “industrial schools.” Modeled on colonial practices, these isolated and punitive facilities impede such transformation.

Building upon the evidence from developmental psychology that shows the transformational potential of character development, this project aims to promote agency, trust, and hope among incarcerated adolescents in the Barbados by re-establishing positive social connections with members of the broader community. Specifically, this intervention will facilitate Community Dialogues whereby youth engage with community role models and establish an e-coaching program (Mobility Mentoring) facilitated by peers from the University of the West Indies. In addition to reconnecting youth to a broader moral community, this project aims to promote a wider understanding of and acceptance for the science, ethics, and practice of character development among members of the Bajan judicial system, education, and community organizations.

The project is a collaboration between the University of the West Indies Cave Hill and the Universities of Oxford and Tulane.


Opinions expressed on this page, or any media linked to it, do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. does not control the content of external links.