CSJP Changing Lives in St. James and Westmoreland

Photo: Marlon Tingling Community Relations Officer of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), Carlton Powell (right), interacts with students in St. James at a workshop. Part of the remit of CSJP is to reach out to at-risk youth across the country to ensure that their social needs are met.

Story Highlights

  • The Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), an initiative of the Ministry of National Security, has been playing a major role in positively changing the lives of thousands of citizens in St. James and Westmoreland.
  • Regional Case Management Coordinator with the CSJP, Adenike Stephenson, tells JIS News that under the CSJP, there have been many success stories of changed lives through interventions.
  • Ms. Stephenson says well over 2,000 youth from the targeted communities have benefited from the interventions of the CSJP, which has resulted in a major increase in the number of young people who are gainfully occupied in school, skills training or in a steady job.

The Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), an initiative of the Ministry of National Security, has been playing a major role in positively changing the lives of thousands of citizens in St. James and Westmoreland.

The Programme, which is currently in its third phase (CSJP-3), operates in 12 communities in St. James and two in Westmoreland.

Regional Case Management Coordinator with the CSJP, Adenike Stephenson, tells JIS News that under the CSJP, there have been many success stories of changed lives through interventions.

Ms. Stephenson says this has resulted in better parents, skills training, job placements and scholarships.

“We have been working on the ground throughout the life of the CSJP, and we have been very successful in implementing programmes directed at at-risk youth. We intervene at various levels, which include ensuring that the target group is properly trained in life and other skills, and ensure that we place them in jobs after training; and in instances where we have students expressing a willingness to continue their education at the secondary and tertiary levels, we assist them through the provision of scholarships,” she tells JIS News.

“Our programmes have been working, and we are very optimistic that the results are contributing to the development of those involved as well as the communities where they live,” she adds.

The CSJP officers are now assigned to Mount Salem, Salt Spring, North Gully, Rose Heights, Green Pond, Flanker, Granville, Glendevon, Canterbury, Farm Heights and Anchovy in St. James, while in Westmoreland the communities in which interventions are being made are Russia and White Hall.

Ms. Stephenson says well over 2,000 youth from the targeted communities have benefited from the interventions of the CSJP, which has resulted in a major increase in the number of young people who are gainfully occupied in school, skills training or in a steady job.

“CSJP and its programme form a major plank of our at-risk youth intervention activities. We ensure that proper evaluation of everyone takes place to determine their status in terms of their level of education, training and social needs. We are involved in case management, with our team working with persons who have special needs,” she notes.

“Youth from our communities in St. James and Westmoreland who would normally be dropouts or easy prey for recruitment into gangs are given counselling and encouraged to stay on the straight and narrow. We have had many and varied levels of successes. For instance, youngsters who, for many reasons, including financial, would not be able to complete their high school education are assisted by CSJP, and they would have gone on to graduate with enough subjects to matriculate into college or university,” Ms. Stephenson informs.

“We have persons who would have undergone training, courtesy of assistance from CSJP, and [are] now operating their own businesses and turning around to employ residents of their communities,” she notes.

Ms. Stephenson also points to the success of CSJP initiatives in encouraging young ladies to participate in parenting programmes, as well as skills training, and today they are productive citizens across all the communities in which the Programme operates.

“The issue of teenage pregnancy is real, not only in St. James and Westmoreland, but across Jamaica, and through the intervention of CSJP, young women have been prevented from becoming early mothers. This forms part of our life skills and parenting programme,” she explains.

Ms. Stephenson also notes that those who become pregnant are assisted, paving the way for them to be proud mothers, living exemplary lives and taking care of their children, and using the skill learnt to make a decent living.

Meanwhile, with CSJP 3 coming to an end in 2018, plans are already being formulated to ensure that its programmes continue in a sustainable manner.

“The objective is to ensure that these programmes continue even after 2018. Entities such as the Social Development Commission (SDC) and others are set to play a role in the continuation of the Programme. I am confident that the aims and objectives of CSJP will continue to be met, while being handled by State agencies,” she tells JIS News.

The CSJP has received funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), Canada.

The Programme provides crime- and violence-prevention services to 50 vulnerable and volatile communities, spanning eight parishes.

JIS Social