JIS News

The Portmore Probation Office has embarked on a community outreach programme called “Clients Day” to highlight the wide range of probation after-care services offered to clients.
The office is a unit of the Community arm of the Department of Correctional Services and deals with persons who have been given community-based sentences.
A “Client’s Day” was held on Wednesday (April 14) at the Edgewater Community Centre, Edgewater round-a-bout, Portmore, under the theme, “Empowering Persons Through Information.” It was the second staging of the event. The first was held last month at the Twyn Citi Centre in Congrieve Park, Port Henderson Road.”We have had favourable responses from our clients. They were enthusiastic and came out in their numbers along with family members,” Senior Probation Officer Vivilyn Morgan told JIS News.
Miss Morgan said that a number of government and private sector agencies have been participating in the event and have made presentations on how they could assist in the training and rehabilitation of clients. Among these were the HEART Trust/NTA, Jamaica Adult Literacy Programme (JAMAL), HIV/AIDS Control Programme, the Registrar General’s Department, National Housing Trust, Jamaica Money Market Brokers, the National Centre for Youth Development, Social Development Commission, National Youth Service, Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Churches Credit Union.
She stated that the office was currently supervising over 150 clients who had been ordered to do community service by the Courts. A team of four probation officers and one senior officer who provided counselling, dispute resolution and management of non-custodial orders are supervising the persons. She mentioned that persons also came from “off the streets” seeking assistance for problems they are having.
The senior probation officer said that schools in Portmore have been utilizing their services and officers have been working along with Guidance Counsellors in helping students with behavioural problems. She mentioned problems such as truancy, breaking of school rules, broken down parent and child relationships and students involvement with the opposite sex.
On the matter of minors engaging in sexual activities on public vehicles, Miss Morgan said, “We are aware of it and we counsel the victims who are sent to us,” she said.
She said that some of the sexual offenders were charged, taken before the courts and given prison or community-based sentences.
Additionally, she stated that probation officers had been visiting schools at the request of Guidance Counsellors to speak to the youth about the dangers of being involved in sexual activities.

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