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The Government is receiving interest from at least two reputable companies to enter into a public/private partnership to build a modern adult correctional facility.

“The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has been tasked to manage this process, and I’m hopeful that we will make some tangible progress on this issue during this year,” said Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting.

He was speaking during his contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate on June 19 in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Bunting explained that most of the existing correctional facilities were never designed with rehabilitation as a priority, and they are in need of major rehabilitation and upgrading.

“Therefore, we must look at new facilities. Certainly over the medium-term, we will need at least two new facilities for adults and juveniles, respectively,” he noted.

On the subject of juvenile facilities, the Security Minister said contractors have been selected and renovation work will re-commence during this month on the South Camp Road facility to accommodate the juveniles from Fort Augusta.

He noted however, that the more important objective of the Government is to minimise the number of juveniles, who end up in correctional facilities.

“Therefore, I am not excited about building more facilities for juveniles, however, I am excited about fixing the system upstream, and diverting most of these young people from ending up in the correctional system,” he stated.

As at June 16, there were only five female juveniles at the Horizon Remand facility, moving from 30 at June 2012, and 35 in January 2011.

Additionally, the number of female juveniles at Fort Augusta has been reduced from 74 to 44 within the last year.

“Therefore, we have cut the size of the problem in half over the last year,” Mr. Bunting said.

Contact: Latonya Linton