The Government has allocated $410 million for construction works under the Ministry of Justice.
This is outlined in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
Of the sum, $370 million will go towards the construction and improvement of courthouses; continuing Phase one construction of Justice Square; and completing renovations to a building on Hagley Park Road to house the Ministry.
The remaining $40 million will be used to purchase eight motor vehicles for judges.
Meanwhile, an allocation of $16 million has been made to the National Child Diversion Policy (formerly Child Protection Programme).
The money will go towards approval of the National Child Diversion Policy; hiring of a consultant to support development of the operational guidelines outlining the roles, functions and expectations; conducting consultations with Court Management Services, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Department of Correctional Services (DCS), and Child Development Agency (CDA) to finalise standards and codes; hiring a consultant to develop a shared diversion and cautioning programme case management database/system; develop case management software; and train stakeholders in case management database system.
It will also be used for: furnishing and equipping four centres in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. James, and St. Catherine; developing and deliver training modules; and training 30 child officers, 50 probation officers, 176 resident magistrates and clerk of the courts, and 25 police officers.
Funded by a grant from the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund, the project, which got underway in April 2013, seeks to deal with children involved in conflicts with the law, outside of formal judicial proceedings.
The Child Diversion Programme is being implemented throughout the criminal justice system, beginning with police cautioning, diversion from the courts and early release from correctional facilities.
Some of the achievements to date include: approval of concept Paper on National Child Diversion Policy by Cabinet; and the hosting of child sexual abuse workshops in Mandeville, St. James, and Kingston and St. Andrew.
The programme is expected to conclude in March 2014.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter