First Look

State Minister meets with Department of Correctional Services staff

Ministry of National Security | 2016-05-10 00:00:00

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr. disclosed that an additional 300 cells are to be constructed at the Tamarind Farm facility as part of the drive to restructure the Correctional institutions and rationalize the inmate population more efficiently.

He revealed this in a meeting with DCS staff from region one (St. Mary, St. Thomas, Portland and Kingston and St. Andrew) last Wednesday.

The Minister stated, “We are pressing ahead with an ongoing reclassification exercise that will shift inmates with lower risk levels from overcrowded institutions to other facilities that are under capacity.”

The Senator while speaking with staff and inmates from the correctional facilities underscored his acquaintance with the current conditions that staff and inmates grapple with.

He stated, “I am aware of the myriad of issues affecting the institutions, especially as it relates to overcrowding, the need for adequate rehabilitation programmes and the overall treatment and care of inmates; particularly those who are mentally ill.”

During the forum, correctional officers shared specific recommendations on how inadequacies can be addressed. The digitisation of record keeping and cross collaboration efforts with key ministries, such as the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health were among the suggestions made.

The Minister also reiterated the importance of creating awareness of mental issues among families of inmates and the public in general by stating, “Inmates who are mentally ill should be treated and cared for in a structured facility by professionals trained in the management of mental health disorders. Families also need to be made aware and supported so that they do not desert them during the period of incarceration.”

The Minister also asserted that he will continue to use his capacity to establish public/private partnership arrangements that will include the provision of additional resources to boost rehabilitation programmes.

So far the visits have provided the State Minister with a first-hand orientation to the challenges in the correctional system and an opportunity to meet with and address the concerns of correctional officers, other staff; inmates and wards.

The Senator has so far visited five of the island’s correctional facilities; St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre, Tower Street Correctional Centre, Rio Cobre Juvenile Centre, South Camp and Richmond Farm. He continues the tour this week with a visit to the Metcalfe Street Correctional Centre and Horizon Adult Remand Centre.

Posted By :Gillian Haughton

Company Name : Ministry of National Security

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Company Address : 2 Oxford Road, Kingston 5

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