Hill Top Juvenile Centre – A Beacon Of Hope For Delinquent Youth


The Hill Top Juvenile Correction Centre in St. Ann is a beacon of hope for youngsters who have run afoul of the law.
The staff at the facility has been working to achieve full rehabilitation of the wards that are entrusted in their care and through academics, counselling and other intervention, are helping them to realize their full potential.
“We try to create and maintain a therapeutic climate in which educational, social and emotional growth can be effected,” says Wesley Christie, Superintendent of the facility.
The centre for boys, located in the cool and picturesque hills of Bamboo was set up in 1974 to provide rehabilitation and training for youngsters who are delinquent or who show delinquent proclivities. The site has a rich history, having previously served as spot for community sporting events before being converted into a police post in the 1930’s. This later gave way to the construction of a prison for first time offenders.
The octagonal structure still stands firm today, offering a full view of the community of Bamboo and an extensive view of parts of the north coast.
Superintendent Christie tells JIS News, that the facility, which falls under the Department of Correctional Services, aims to rehabilitate, train, and counsel delinquent youngsters so that they could become acceptable members of society.
A professional and dedicated staff is in place to guide the process and according to Superintendent Christie, the members act on the philosophy that each person is entitled to the fullest opportunity for overcoming his problems and developing to the maximum, his desirable potentials.
“It is hoped that when a youngster is discharged from this institution, he would have learnt to accept the statutes and laws of the country and abide by them.
It is also hoped that he would have developed mentally, physically, socially, spiritually and academically,” Mr. Christie states.
Like in any normal school setting, the wards at Hill Top are being exposed to academic and vocational training.
Teacher at the institution, Nedra Barnett, informs that many of the wards have learning disabilities but there are others who are functioning at the high school level and as a result, they are given the opportunity to continue secondary education and participate in the Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSC).
“Hill Top has been a centre for SSC for over three years now and we have been getting excellent passes in academic subjects such as English Language, Mathematics and Social Studies as well in vocational subject areas such as Electrical Installation, Auto Mechanics and Clothing and Textiles,” she boasts.
“Our students are full of potential and the members of the teaching staff are working with these wards to help them realize that they can achieve the best in life,” she adds.
In addition to the academics, the boys benefit from group counselling sessions, recreational and cultural activities and religious instruction. They also attend church regularly and are allowed to go home for short visits.
“There is also a rewards and privileges system assigned to assist in maintaining a fair assessment of each youngster in conduct at work or play and this system has been very effective as it contributes to the level of discipline in the institution,” Ms. Barnett says.

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