JIS News

KINGSTON — The Ministry of National Security has designed a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for young offenders who will be housed at the new Metcalfe Street Juvenile Remand Centre, which is scheduled to open soon.

Acting Commissioner of Corrections, Lt. Col. Sean Prendergast, who spoke to journalists following a tour of the West Kingston-based facility on April 5, said that the offerings incorporate academics and life skill activities, aimed at enabling the youngsters to reintegrate into the society.   

“We will have a number of programmes starting with educational programmes to deal with basic literacy all the way up to Caribbean Examination Certificate (CXC) level. From there, you have behaviour modification programmes, we have life skills training programmes…inter-social interactive (activities),” he said, noting that the curriculum will be facilitated through collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Health.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh, said the programme offering was informed by assessment of the health and psycho-social needs of children in lock-ups.

“So the programmes…will be developed on the basis of that data that we have. So the entire rehabilitation programme, as you see here now, is going to be fed by the information that we have been collecting while addressing their needs,” she stated.

The facility, which previously accommodated an adult remand facility, is being refurbished and retrofitted by the Government at a cost of $168 million to accommodate 208 juvenile offenders, aged 13 to 17 years, who are currently being detained in police lock-ups.

The project, which got underway last April, is being carried out by the Jamaica Defence Force's (JDF) Engineering Regiment, and the design, which includes spacious dormitories and space for recreation and physical activity, is in keeping with international standards for accommodating juvenile offenders.

Among the features are three, four-storey buildings, with each floor to house separate dormitories; classroom block and facility for basketball, volleyball, and football.

An administrative block will also be put in place to house managerial and clerical staff, a medical centre, doctor’s office and examination room. Additionally, there will be a dormitory on the top floor for remandees deemed low-risk, as well as a visiting area.

The Metcalfe Street Juvenile Remand Centre will be managed by the Department of Correctional Services.