New Correctional Centre Proposed for Central Jamaica

Photo: Michael Sloley National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague (centre, front row), addressing the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament meeting held on Wednesday (February 28) at Gordon House. From left are State Minister in the Ministry, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr; and Permanent Secretary, Dianne McIntosh.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is looking at plans to build a correctional facility in the central part of the island.
  • His remarks came in light of concerns raised about the state of the Tower Street and St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centres in Kingston and St. Catherine respectively.
  • “We have completed the audit and the reclassification is ongoing. What we found was that we had persons charged for minor crimes being housed with persons charged with extremely serious crimes,” he stated.

The Government is looking at plans to build a correctional facility in the central part of the island.

National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, made the disclosure during the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament meeting held on Wednesday (February 28) at Gordon House.

His remarks came in light of concerns raised about the state of the Tower Street and St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centres in Kingston and St. Catherine respectively.

In addition, an investigation is now ongoing at the Tower Street Centre following the discovery of a tunnel at the facility.

Minister Montague also informed that an audit and reclassification of inmates are being undertaken.

“We have completed the audit and the reclassification is ongoing. What we found was that we had persons charged for minor crimes being housed with persons charged with extremely serious crimes,” he stated.

“The reclassification is correcting that and we are moving out some persons from these two maximum security prisons into, say, Richmond and Tamarind Farm Correctional Centres. Once that is completed, we (will) have the electronic monitoring programme… so we will be able to release some persons early, as well as increase rehabilitation programmes,” the Minister added.

The Government has budgeted $168 million in the 2018/19 fiscal year to undertake construction and renovation works at several correctional facilities as well as improve the Department of Correctional Services’ mobility.

Of the sum, $82 million will be spent to construct an external changing area utilising retrofitted containers, and a new block for the mentally ill at Tower Street.

Additionally, $26 million will be spent to repair the inmate accommodation building at St. Catherine.

The remaining $60 million will be used to purchase three Coaster buses, one 15-seater bus, one pickup and two motorcycles.

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