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The Correctional Services Department has received five new computers and software to boost its automated pharmaceutical inventory unit, and to assist with documentation and record-keeping on the health of inmates.
The software also has the capability of linking five of the department’s healthcare facilities to the Medical Unit’s Central Registry, to enhance the management of the pharmaceutical storage and dispensation process.
Donated by the Reverence for Life Foundation, in collaboration with International Asset Services Limited and the British High Commission, the computers and software will also enhance the efficiency of the Medical Unit, resulting in an immediate availability of status report on existing stocks; the tracking of medication given to inmates and staff; and easy determination of the re-order levels.
Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell who addressed the handing over ceremony, yesterday (July 29) in Kingston, expressed his satisfaction with the new technology, and noted that Jamaica was repositioning itself to take advantage of opportunities that currently existed in the globalized world.
“We have a responsibility to persons who are within the confines of these institutions to assist them to become better people when they leave and it is amazing how people are responding to computer technology in various areas,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that more people were responding to computer technologies as was evident in a recent survey conducted in rural parishes where computers were introduced in the last few years.
“They have selected Fridays to be computer day at the schools and it is amazing because normally on a Friday, in the rural parts, people do not go to school and now they have the highest attendance on a Friday because it is computer day,” he said. As a result of the introduction of the computers, the Minister said the reading skills of the students have increased dramatically.
Based on such achievements, Minister Paulwell pointed out that computers should be at a cheaper cost, so everyone could afford them. He made a comparison with the affordability of cell phones now, which was not the same a few years ago.
“We still only have about 60,000 persons with direct access to the Internet. We now have 1.8 million cell phones. Think of what we could do in expanding access to the Internet,” he said.
The Minister suggested that the National Housing Trust (NHT) could become more creative and look at ways how it could make computers or access to broadband a part of the package when a person bought a house.
“If we are going to become part of this knowledge based world, we have to ensure that our people have access and it can’t be tomorrow, it has to be now,” he emphasized.
Commissioner of Corrections, Major Richard Reese, informed that the equipment received would also enable the department to provide information on the prescription and dispensation of medicine to inmates and staff who are ill or involved in any accident while on duty.
“It means that we will be able to manage our medical inventory better,” he said.
Major Reese also used the opportunity to express his gratitude for the support the department was receiving from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as the private sector.