JIS News

National Security Minister, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, is defending the Government’s decision to build a new 5,000-bed, state of the art, correctional facility at Amity Hall in St. Catherine.
Describing the country’s correctional facilities as “woefully inadequate”, Col. MacMillan says the facility will be the first major investment undertaken in the island’s prison system in over 200 years.
Addressing the Department of Correctional Services’ awards dinner at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Tuesday (Oct. 28), Col. MacMillan said efforts to expand the island’s correctional infrastructure, are critical to the rehabilitation of inmates, describing it as more than just the construction of another prison.
“We are doing more than just building cells to hold prisoners. The design (of the new correctional centre) will place special emphasis on rehabilitation, and will include: work training centres, a library, hospital, and sport facilities. The campus-type facility will also have state of the art minimum, medium, and maximum security facilities, as well as appellate and death row housing,” the Minister outlined, adding that when complete, the centre will facilitate relocation of inmates currently being housed in nine of the island’s 11 correctional institutions.
Noting objections to the facility’s construction, Col. MacMillan urged detractors to analyse and determine whether the existing penal framework is adequate to facilitate the administration of justice, or whether the time has come to adopt “tried and proven” systems used in developed countries.
“You (correctional service) will need.. to educate them (detractors), that it (the new facility) is in the society’s long term interest. We are definitely talking (about) a new direction, (and) it is important that we get everybody to buy into it, because building new facilities is only one part of the story. We will get nowhere if we put new wine in old bottles. Our attitude must change to match the (new) facilities,” Col. MacMillan implored.
Two hundred acres of land have been acquired at Amity Hall in St. Catherine for the project, and the purchase of an additional 200 acres is being negotiated.