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Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, has said that a new facility would soon be commissioned at Montpelier, St. James to house 250 male juveniles.
Making his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 13, the Minister pointed out that subsequent to this action, the Rio Cobre facility would be used to house female juveniles exclusively, and the Armadale facility would be used to establish the first female Juvenile Remand Centre.
“The combined effect of these measures will be to ease the overcrowding in the adult institutions,” said the Minister. The Security Minister also informed the House that the Department of Correctional Services has set up computer labs in its Tower Street, St. Catherine and Rio Cobre facilities, and was introducing the use of the new technologies into its offender management systems for faster and efficient records management.
He noted Cabinet’s approval for the pilot testing of the Global Positioning Satellite electronic monitoring of offenders for certain categories of offenders, including parolees, licencees and inmates who qualify for Conditional Release Work Programmes. The pilot will be done over a two-year period.
In the meantime, Dr. Phillips said that the Ministry is continuing to pursue plans for the new adult correctional facility.
“Based on the directive of the National Contracts Commission, we have been forced to re-open the tendering process and have now received new pre-qualification submissions from the contractors, which are being evaluated,” the Minister said.
“A site has already been identified, and the acquisition of the property is nearing conclusion,” he added. Dr. Phillips said that in the effort to lower recidivism rates and to facilitate the successful re-integration of offenders into the society, the Department was placing additional emphasis on improving offender management in both adult and juvenile institutions. “We have already started to see positive results, for example, there has been reduction in the number of escapes; reduction in violent conflicts between officers and inmates; and improvement in the rehabilitation of offenders leaving the institutions,” the Minister said.