JIS News

The Government is moving swiftly to provide secure accommodation for children being held in police lock-ups due to lack of space in existing juvenile remand centres.
Following his announcement in Parliament last week, Prime Minister Bruce Golding received a report from the JDF, on Tuesday, on the timeframe for renovation works to be carried out at Cape Clear, St. Mary.
Based on discussions involving the Ministry of National Security, the Child Development Agency (CDA) and following consultations with the Children’s Advocate, steps are now being taken to transfer children from police lock-ups to the former remand centre at Metcalfe Street.
This is a highly secure facility which can accommodate all the children now being held in custody. Minor modifications will be carried out immediately to facilitate its use as a juvenile remand centre.
It is not possible to place these children in existing remand or correctional centres, as they are already overcrowded. Nor is it possible to house them in places of safety, as these do not offer the required level of security and would expose the children already there to danger.
It is to be noted that 47 of the children now in police lock-ups have been charged with serious offences including murder (3), illegal firearm (12), shooting (1), possession of an offensive weapon (2), wounding (9), rape (5), carnal abuse (5), robbery with aggravation (7) and assault (3).
The Government fully acknowledges that children ought not to be kept in police lock-ups but in facilities which are appropriate to their status as children, while providing the necessary security as they await the decision of the courts.
Every effort is being made to have children in lock-ups relocated within the next few weeks.

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