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A programme for the rehabilitation and reintegration of local offenders and deported persons, is to be undertaken by the Government, through the Ministry of National Security, and the United Kingdom (UK) Government.
Making the announcement at today’s (Oct. 29) post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister of National Security, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, said that to this end, “a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), is being prepared to be signed by the Ministry of National Security and the British Government, and this should be signed by the end of this week.”
He said that the objectives of this three-year programme, being funded by the British Government at a cost of approximately three million pounds, are to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Correctional Services, in reducing re-offending and to enhance the programmes and services available to offenders and deported persons, to facilitate reintegration into society.
The Security Minister pointed out further that on average, approximately 23 per cent of 1,800 offenders who have been released from correctional institutions annually, are convicted of another offence within two years.
“There are no structured programmes in place to facilitate reintegration of deported persons into our society, and although the Correctional Services are doing a tremendous job with the little resources they have, there is little access to similar programmes for persons released from local institutions,” he noted.
Senator MacMillan noted further that the programme will commence with the development of a Jamaica Reducing Re-offending Action plan. In addition, technical assistance and advice will be provided to the Ministry to support the establishment of a hostel/reception centre, for deported persons, which will be funded separately by the UK. The Security Minister noted however, that the individuals will not be held as prisoners, “but they will pass through the hostel,” where counselling will be offered.
At the same time, Senator MacMillan pointed out the Government was seeking to ensure “that we do not compromise in any way, our nation’s security or relinquish control over our borders.”
He pointed to work being done locally to rehabilitate prisoners, particularly at the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre for Women, where he said persons who go in without a skill, often leave with a skill. “Within the male section of the Correctional Services, they are trying but they have limited resources,” he said, noting this programme would allow the Government “to enhance the (rehabilitation) programme for our local people.”
“From what I have been advised, a number of our street people, are people who have been deported and there is no family here for them, and they end up as street people. That’s the type of thing we are trying to correct,” he added.