Overcrowding at Correctional Centres Being Addressed

Photo: Michael Sloley State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Rudyard Spencer.

Story Highlights

  • State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says the Government is keen on addressing the issue of overcrowding in the country’s correctional centres.
  • Making his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 16, the State Minister said that to alleviate the overcrowding problem at the maximum-security facilities, a 304-cell block was constructed at Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre.
  • He noted that inmates are being reclassified and transferred from overcrowded maximum-security centres (Tower Street and St. Catherine Correctional Centres) to underpopulated medium- and low-security centres.

State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says the Government is keen on addressing the issue of overcrowding in the country’s correctional centres.

Making his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 16, the State Minister said that to alleviate the overcrowding problem at the maximum-security facilities, a 304-cell block was constructed at Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre.

“The aim is to reduce the overcrowding at the two male maximum-security facilities by way of classification and transfer to the new block at the Tamarind Farm facility,” Mr. Spencer pointed out.

He noted that inmates are being reclassified and transferred from overcrowded maximum-security centres (Tower Street and St. Catherine Correctional Centres) to underpopulated medium- and low-security centres.

Mr. Spencer pointed out that protocols have been developed and targets set in order to address inconsistences in the reclassification efforts of the past.

“This has already borne fruit. There has been an increase from 443 inmates reclassified and transferred in 2016 to 563 inmates in 2017. This represents a 27 per cent increase in the number of inmates reclassified and transferred,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Mr. Spencer said the Administration is considering using electronic monitoring as part of its inmate population-management strategy.

He added that the use of electronic monitoring deployment via the Global Positioning System (GPS) for the purpose of electronically monitoring persons on bail or those convicted of minor offences is a tool widely used worldwide.

“Last year, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) launched the pilot phase of the electronic monitoring programme. Potential suppliers were given an opportunity to demonstrate the suitability of the electronic tag through appropriate testing and to ensure operational effectiveness,” Mr. Spencer said.

He added that 55 inmates participated in the programme, which proved to be a success and will be used to monitor low-risk inmates.

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