Jamaicans Urged to Support Youth in Juvenile Remand Centres

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Chairman of the non-profit organization, Trust for the Americas, Michael Lee-Chin (second left), is led on a tour of the South Camp Road Juvenile Remand and Correctional Centre in Kingston on Wednesday (December 13) by Director of the ‘A New Path’ initiative, Susan Ewerse (left). Others (from third left) are State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., and Commissioner of Corrections, Ina Hunter.

Story Highlights

  • Chairman of the non-profit organisation, Trust for the Americas, Michael Lee-Chin, is calling on influential individuals to provide support for youth, specifically girls in juvenile remand centres, so they can be in a better position to thrive when they leave the system.
  • “Those of us who have a voice in the system and power in the marketplace should make sure we extend those facilities to those of our daughters in (juvenile remand centres) who don’t have a voice… to give them the (opportunity) to be contributory citizens eventually,” he said.
  • Mr. Lee-Chin told JIS News that Trust for the Americas will be leading the charge for support by designing a programme for the girls at the Centre “that will give them the support they need”.

Chairman of the non-profit organisation, Trust for the Americas, Michael Lee-Chin, is calling on influential individuals to provide support for youth, specifically girls in juvenile remand centres, so they can be in a better position to thrive when they leave the system.

“Those of us who have a voice in the system and power in the marketplace should make sure we extend those facilities to those of our daughters in (juvenile remand centres) who don’t have a voice… to give them the (opportunity) to be contributory citizens eventually,” he said.

The Chairman was speaking during a visit to the South Camp Road Juvenile Remand and Correctional Centre on Wednesday (December 13).

Mr. Lee-Chin told JIS News that Trust for the Americas will be leading the charge for support by designing a programme for the girls at the Centre “that will give them the support they need”.

“The good thing is that they are in a captive environment (in a positive way) where we can influence them in terms of values, in terms of getting them caught up with school. In fact, they should be ahead of their peers, and at the same time, we have to look at transitioning, so that they never come back in this situation and that they are optimistic that they can be contributing citizens to Jamaica,” he said.

“Our job is to help you to get to that point where you feel confident, you feel optimistic, you feel like a good person. We are going to do whatever it takes to help you be transformed from who you think you are now to the beautiful person that is within you,” he assured the girls.

In the meantime, State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr.; and State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, who accompanied Mr. Lee-Chin on the tour of the facility, welcomed the support already being provided under the New Path initiative as well as the additional support that will be forthcoming.

A New Path was implemented by the Organization of American States (OAS) and Trust for the Americas, with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project, which began in January 2015, was scheduled to end in January 2017 but has been extended until September 2019.

The Trust for the Americas, in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS), currently works with young offenders in juvenile centres across the island, including South Camp Road, under its ‘A New Path’ initiative. It also targets youth in State care facilities and the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).

The initiative aims to provide hope to marginalised young people who have come into conflict with the law, by providing them with the requisite skills for reintegration into the society.

The Programme is designed to enhance the youngsters’ emotional well-being, which it is anticipated will contribute to reduced recidivism and, ultimately, reduced crime and violence.

It offers and facilitates weekly counselling, the implementation of educational and vocational training, conflict-resolution programmes as well as opportunities for apprenticeship and internship. It works on key areas that can enable the successful economic and social integration of youth.

Also included in the initiative is a music programme, in collaboration with the National Youth Orchestra, and a sports aspect facilitated by the Youth Development Network.

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