JIS News

The Ministry of National Security will be implementing its Jamaica Reducing Re-offending Action Plan (JRRAP) later this month, which aims to provide rehabilitative support for offenders and ex-offenders.
Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, in a message read by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Major Richard Reese, at the inaugural Caribbean Probation Officers Conference on June 9 at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, informed that some $115 million will be spent under the initiative, which involves collaboration with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and civil society partners.
Among its objectives are to improve rehabilitation and reintegration services for offenders in local correctional institutions, and provide support for persons serving community sentences, and ex-offenders.
Senator Nelson stated that offenders and ex-offenders will be assisted with accommodation; employment, education and skills training; health and medical services, including substance abuse services. They will also benefit from behaviour modification programmes; literacy, parenting, life skills, and skills training to increase employability.
“A comprehensive communication strategy will also be rolled out to provide information for offenders, ex-offenders, families of affected persons, partnering organisations, and the general public, to raise awareness of the services available under this action plan,” he informed, noting that a directory of providers of essential services and other information pamphlets will be available to them, to assist in the resettlement process at the community level.
The JRRAP is part of the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders and Deported Persons Programme, established by the Jamaican Government in partnership with the British Government.
In place since November 2008, the programme aims to significantly improve the reintegration into the society by Jamaican nationals, who have been deported from the UK after completing prison sentences.
It also provides support for the integration and strengthening of the services provided by the DCS and partner civil society organisations; the modernisation of the business process of the DCS; training and skills development of correctional officers and probation officers; and infrastructural development for adult and juvenile correctional centres.
“Training has been provided to probation middle managers, and additional training and skills development will be provided over the next 20 months,” Senator Nelson informed.
He said that the DCS has already begun to benefit from infrastructural development under this programme, with a visitors centre constructed at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in Kingston; a new pre-lease hostel has been established; and the training and group work room at the DCS’ Lockett Avenue Office has been renovated.
In the meantime, Senator Nelson informed that $38.4 million has been allocated in the 2009/2010 budget for the enhancement of the DCS’ capacity to rehabilitate offenders.
Each year, approximately 1,800 persons are released from correctional institutions in Jamaica. According to reports from the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, the St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre and Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Facility, in excess of 500 persons were readmitted for reoffending last year.
The two-day Caribbean Probation Officers Conference is being held under the theme: ‘Community Corrections: 21st Century Approach’. Jamaica and 12 other Caribbean countries are participating in the event.

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