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Story Highlights

  • The Boards of Visitors will give oversight to the operations of juvenile facilities, with the primary objective of ensuring that the children are protected.
  • The establishment of the Boards of Visitors is a direct response to the Armadale tragedy on March 22, 2009.
  • Each Board will meet once per month.

The Government is continuing on its strategic path to protect and promote the rights and well-being of the nation’s children through the establishment of Boards of Visitors for juvenile facilities.

This was stated by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of National Security, Karen Clarke-Davis, during a meeting for members of the Boards on November 21, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

The Boards of Visitors will give oversight to the operations of juvenile facilities, with the primary objective of ensuring that the best interests of the children in correctional and remand centres are protected.

They will monitor the operations of the Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Centre; Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre; Hill Top Juvenile Correctional Centre; South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Centre, and ensure that they meet minimum standards.

The establishment of the Boards of Visitors is a direct response to the Armadale tragedy on March 22, 2009.

Mrs. Clarke Davis said the Ministry remains resolute in safeguarding the wellbeing of all of Jamaica’s children, in particular, the 275 who are currently in the care of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

“The Ministry accepts the task of protecting the interest and welfare of our juveniles is a mammoth one and believes that the development of our nation requires a multi-faceted and collaborative approach,” she said.

She reminded the members of the Boards that they have the opportunity to influence the outcomes of rehabilitation programmes, to shape the reintegration strategy, and to contribute to the wards’ return to society as positive citizens.

“We look forward to receiving your recommendations and to a cordial working relationship. The children are our future, let us provide each one with every opportunity to excel and realise their full potential,” she stated.

The Chief Technical Director implored them to seek to make a difference and execute their functions with compassion, understanding and love for the children as they aim to protect their best interests.

“Discharge your functions without fear or favour but be friendly. Be thorough but thoughtful, be robust but be respectful. We must seek to do all in our powers to ensure that there is never a repeat of an ‘Armadale’,” she said.

Each Board, which will meet once per month, is mandated to submit reports to the Children’s Advocate, the Superintendent of the specified institution, the Commissioner of Corrections and the Minister of National Security.