JIS News

Commissioner of Corrections, Major Richard Reese, has hailed the community service order and the parole supervision programmes, noting that these initiatives have helped to reduce the prison population, while providing rehabilitation for offenders.
“We have in excess of 4,000 persons being managed in the community serving community service orders. Had those persons been in prison, we would have in excess of 9,000 in prison,” he pointed out, while addressing a one-day conference for Probation Aftercare Officers recently at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, recently.
He informed that the community service order programme has a 75 per cent success rate, while the parole supervision programme has a 99 per cent success rate.
Major Reese noted that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and a number of religious groups, have been partnering with the Department of Correctional Services to achieve positive results.
In lauding the work of the Probation Aftercare Officers, he said that the Department was working towards ensuring that personnel were equipped with the necessary tools to carry out their tasks effectively.
Major Reese said it was the aim of the Department to provide mediation training for all probation officers and last year, 20 persons were trained, with approximately 74 persons trained to date. “We are being tasked heavily and we are rising to the challenge,” he said, informing that additional staff would be recruited some time this year.
Commenting on the theme of the conference, which was ‘Managing Community Corrections,’ Major Reese encouraged probation officers to be more proactive in engaging the community.
“Rather than waiting on the community to come to us with their issues, we can go to the various groups whether it be Parent Teacher Associations, church groups or even in the workplace where we can have target groups as a captive audience,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, State Minister for National Security, Senator Arthur Williams, urged the participants to continue to follow through with community interventions, “as this is truly assisting in the fight against crime in the country”.
More than 170 Probation Aftercare Officers from across the island participated in the conference, which provided them with the opportunity to share best practices and learn new strategies and techniques in the execution of their duties.

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