Steps Taken to Address Disquiet at Correctional Centre


Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips has said that the Director of Correctional Services, Major Richard Reese and his staff, have been undertaking a number of measures to address the recent breaches of discipline and protest at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in Downtown Kingston.
Minister Phillips was responding to questions posed by Members of Parliament (MP) of North Eastern St. Andrew, Delroy Chuck and Derrick Smith, MP for St. Andrew North Western on the recent disquiet among inmates at the Correctional Centre, at Tuesday’s (March 23) sitting of the House of Representatives.
“Persons have been moved from the facility to relieve some of the pressure of numbers. That in fact, it is the case that a review of some of the representations made by the inmates at the facility is underway and measures are being taken to address the situation,” he said.
Disgruntled inmates at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre went on a four-day hunger strike and lock-in on Monday, March 15, to protest against the quality of food, living conditions in the prison, the parole process, access to rehabilitation programmes and overcrowding at the facility among other concerns.
Meanwhile, Mr. Smith, who is the Opposition Spokesman on National Security, asked for a report on government’s medium to long-term plans for easing the congestion at the nation’s two main prisons, in particular the previously announced proposal to construct a new correctional facility.
Dr. Phillips said that plans were proceeding for a new facility, adding that he would provide details at a later date.
Mr. Smith also requested an update on the review process under way regarding warders initially dismissed in 2000.
Dr. Phillips informed that, “by agreement a reviewer has been selected and the process of appointment is under way and both the representatives of the warders and the staff of the correctional services are in continuing contact. I know they met today (March 23) on that matter and that is under way.”
Meanwhile, the House also approved an amendment to the National Honours and Awards Act to facilitate the designation of awards to members of the Department of Correctional Services and not the Jamaica Prison Services.
The amendment corrects an error that was made in 1986.

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