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Increased Focus on Rehabilitating Youth Offenders – Spencer

Photo: Mark Bell

State Minister for National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, addresses a meeting with members of the Department of Correctional Services’ juvenile institutions on April 5 at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices in Kingston.

Recently appointed State Minister for National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says greater emphasis will be placed on the rehabilitation of young people in juvenile facilities.

This, he said, is in keeping with the Government’s thrust to repurpose the correctional system to focus on the comprehensive rehabilitation of offenders as part of the five-pillar crime-prevention strategy.

Mr. Spencer, who was speaking during a meeting with officials from the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) juvenile institutions at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices in Kingston on April 5, said early intervention is a critical element in the fight against crime.

“The work you are doing is extremely important because we have a chance to assist these children. Every care must be taken to ensure that they get the kind of assistance that can help them to make a meaningful contribution to Jamaica. All of these children can be and will be rehabilitated,” he said.

During the meeting, the DCS officials, presented updates on the activities within the institutions and made recommendations for strategies to improve the experiences of juveniles.

Attendees included Commissioner of Corrections, Ina Hunter; Director of Juvenile Services, Claudeth Hamilton; Education Coordinator, Harold Bennett; Director of Probation Aftercare Services, Janet Davey; Superintendent of Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Remand Centre, Karen Elliot; Superintendent of South Camp Juvenile Remand and Correctional Centre, Maulette Whyte; Superintendent of Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre, Martin Dryden; and Superintendent of the Hill Top Juvenile Correctional Centre, Faydene Ferreira.

The DCS is comprised of seven adult correctional centres, one adult remand centre, four juvenile centres and 17 community service (probation) offices located islandwide.

The Government’s five-pillar security strategy is focused on effective policing, social development interventions, situational prevention of crime, swift and sure justice, and work to rehabilitate, redeem and redirect inmates.

The fifth pillar, which aims to reduce reoffending through enhanced rehabilitation programmes within Jamaica’s penal institutions, will target youth offenders across the DCS juvenile institutions to arrest antisocial behaviour and assist in their successful reintegration into society.

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