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Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, has said that the Ministry, through the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), will be vigorously pursuing alternatives to incarceration this year.
In a speech read by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Major Richard Reese, during the DCS’ thanksgiving and commitment service at the St. Paul’s United Church in Kingston today (January 14), Senator Nelson noted that the aim is to reduce the number of persons committed to juvenile and adult correctional facilities across the island.
He said that four main strategies are currently being looked at: the Probation Order, which allows the offender to do community-based rehabilitation; the Community Service Order in which offenders are given 40 hours to do community service; the Suspended Service with supervision; and the Voluntary Supervision, which is offered to offenders deemed to be in need of counselling or treatment outside of the formal system.

Commissioner of Corrections, June Spence-Jarrett (left) engages in a light moment with Chief Justice Mrs. Zaila McCalla following the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) thanksgiving and commitment service at the St. Paul’s United Church in Kingston on Thursday, January 14.

“We are all aware of the severe economic climate that affects governance. Any effort to minimise the financial strain on the country has to be pursued vigorously,” he said.
The Minister noted that as the DCS celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, it will continue to develop and implement strategies towards a modern correctional process.
“The Department continues to establish special rehabilitation projects, computerising data sources and reviewing needed health personnel and policies,” he said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Major Richard Reese, (left) and Commissioner of Corrections, June Spence-Jarrett, (second left) join in the singing of a hymn during the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) thanksgiving and commitment service at the St. Paul’s United Church in Kingston on Thursday, January 14.

He noted too that the Department is determined to move strategically into enhanced supervision and public safety, thereby enabling the successful achievement of its vision of a ‘therapeutic environment’ for its clients and a more peaceful, caring, productive society.
The Minister also praised the staff of the DCS for performing admirably throughout the past year, despite the challenges encountered.
“I must implore you to continue the wonderful and oftentimes, thankless job you perform. The society at large owes you all, a debt of gratitude for the role you play in making Jamaica a safer place for us all to live,” he said.
Commissioner of Corrections, June Spence-Jarrett, in her remarks, expressed the hope that there will be renewed dedication among staff, to bring about a positive change in their various areas of work, for 2010, and encouraged those present to always produce high standards of work.