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Cabinet has approved the drafting instructions for legislative amendments to various sections of the Corrections Act, 1985 and the Correctional Institutional (Adult Correctional Centre) Rule, 1991.

These will address the specific issue of prohibited items in Jamaica’s correctional institutions that allow for unauthorised communication outside the facility.

This was stated by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Hon. Matthew Samuda, during his contribution to the 2021/22 State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on Friday (September 24).

“This isn’t because of songs being made; this is directly because it is a matter of life and death. If we do not get the phones out, we cannot curtail and stop the running of gangs behind our facilities,” he noted.

Senator Samuda said the first phase of the amendment is intended to provide stronger legislative support to security arrangements and controls within the correctional centres while facilitating tighter control of prohibited articles being transported in and out of the centres.

“This is nothing to scoff at, it is a chronic issue and has been allowed to stay for far too long,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the second draft of the Offender Management Policy is under review, pointing out that finalisation is projected before year end.

This document, he said, will establish a blueprint for increasing the support received by all offenders from entry into the correctional facility, throughout the rehabilitation process and during reintegration.

“The policy will focus less on punitive measures and instead support successful offender outcomes (SOOs). This support is expected to result in a lower risk of

Reoffending, and hence a lower level of crime.” he said.

He noted that the Offender Management Policy is being developed by the Offender Management, Rehabilitation Policy and Parole Board Administration Branch.

He said the new policy and the reviewed Corrections Act are expected to herald a new beginning for corrections in Jamaica, striving for improved public safety through the rehabilitation of offenders.

“To achieve this vision, the Department of Correctional Services will treat our inmates and wards as clients; provide support for each client from entry until they are reintegrated; rely heavily on scientific evidence in assessing the needs of each client; be more proactive in making necessary interventions; and develop new and greater partnerships, particularly for rehabilitation and reintegration, as we seek successful offender outcomes,” he stated.

The Offender Management, Rehabilitation Policy and Parole Board Administration Branch is the Unit within the Ministry of National Security, which contributes to crime prevention by facilitating the successful management, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.

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