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Jamaica and the United Kingdom (UK), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which is expected to boost the country’s capacity to rehabilitate and reintegrate local offenders and deported persons in society.
According to the Minister of National Security, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, some 2.9 million Pounds Sterling is attached to the MoU, which will span three years.
“Through the Memorandum of Understanding, a mix of technical assistance, infrastructural development and service enhancement will be provided, to boost the country’s capacity to rehabilitate and reintegrate local offenders and deported persons. The programme spans three years and will build the capacity of the Ministry’s Department of Correctional Services and civil society, to effectively rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders,” the Minister said at the signing, which took place at the Ministry in Kingston, on November 4.
“It is anticipated that the approximately 1,800 offenders who are released annually from correctional institutions, will be able to benefit from this programme of rehabilitation and reintegration,” he explained.
The Minister added that with 23 per cent of offenders finding themselves behind bars two years after they have been released, the programme’s objective is to reduce the number of ex-offenders returning to prison.
“Currently, 23 per cent of these ex-offenders are convicted of another offence within 2 years, as most do not have access to rehabilitative care. Therefore, the objective of the programme is to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Corrections, in reducing re-offending; enhance the programmes and services available to offenders and deported persons, to facilitate reintegration and reduce incidents of re-offending,” he said.
The programme will begin with the development of the Jamaica Reducing Re-offending Action Plan (JRRAP). Technical assistance and advice will be provided to the Ministry, to support the establishment of a Hostel/Reception Centre for deported persons.
The establishment of the centre will be funded separately by the UK. In addition to the 2.9 million Pounds Sterling, the UK will provide $3.5 million over the next six months. Jamaica is not required to provide counterpart funding.