KINGSTON — The Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Local Offenders Deported Persons programme has received more support with an allocation of $80 million in the 2011/12 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
The major objectives of the programme, which began in November 2008, are to significantly improve the reintegration of Jamaican nationals, who have been deported from the United Kingdom (UK) after completing prison sentences; and to build the capacity of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).
Up to March 2011, several facilities catering to short, medium-term and medium to long-term accommodation of deported males have been renovated. Facilities for emergency accommodation of deported females and children have also been refurbished.
Support service has also been provided to the Jamaica Reducing Re-Offending Action Plan (JRRAP) through the establishments of the Project Management Team. Nine skills training projects have been implemented in correctional facilities, while deported males were provided with farming skills through a vegetation project.
A number of ‘Coming Home Packs’, which contain information on island-wide rehabilitative and integrated services, were distributed to deported persons on arrival in the country, while capacity-building activities were undertaken, through the provision of management and motivational training of staff at the DCS.
During the 2011 to 2012 period under the programme, DCS is to be supported in the implementation of its business plans and use of the DCS Performance Framework; strategies/interventions/techniques are to be developed and implemented to improve the supervision of offenders; and emergency safety nets established for deportees.
In addition, the current JRRAP is to be reviewed to improve collaboration between Jamaican government/agencies and Non Government Organisations (NGOs). A three-year investment plan, including facilities and services outside Kingston, is to be developed and implemented, and an explicit exit strategy formulated. Further, new investment projects are to be identified to improve liaison with prison/probation services in the UK.
Other targets entail supporting the development and implementation of strategies dealing with young offenders, including females; improving the working relationships between the DCS and the Ministries of National Security and Justice, to assist the Government in the overall management of the prison population; and supporting the JRRAP stakeholder forum in Jamaica to promote co-operation between government departments, NGOs, and other organisations working with deported people.
The programme was to have ended March 2011, but has been further extended to March, 2014. It is being implemented by the National Security Ministry, through funding from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter