Minister of National Security, Senator Dwight Nelson, has expressed dissatisfaction with the physical layout of the St. Andrew Juvenile Remand Facility, Stony Hill, St. Andrew and has ordered modifications.
Minister of National Security, the Hon Dwight Nelson
Senator Nelson made the call on Thursday (March 11) during a tour of the Stony Hill facility, accompanied by Opposition spokesman on National Security, Peter Bunting.
He said that he has instructed that plans be immediately put in place to facilitate outdoor recreational activities for the remandees. The facility houses 48 males between the ages of 13 and 17.
The Minister and his Opposition counterpart were briefed by the Superintendent in charge of the institution, Mabel Morris.
The visit followed a report from the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture.
In the report, the Special Rapporteur said his visit demonstrated “.a disturbing system of repression and regular corporal punishment.”
“The boys on remand were never allowed to leave the buildings, depriving them of any recreational activities in the open air. The overseers appeared to be aware of the use of corporal punishment by certain warders, but did not give the impression of taking serious measures to deal with the situation,” the Report said.
Mr. Bunting said that, while the facility was not ideal, the situation did not appear to be as appalling as highlighted by the U.N. Special Rapporteur and Jamaicans for Justice.
He said with the planned modifications to facilitate an open air recreational area, the facility will be more suitable.
He also expressed concern about the slow Court process, which results in some of the remandees being in custody for up to two years, and called for these juvenile cases to be moved more expeditiously through the judicial system. In a statement to Parliament on March 2, Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced that boys being housed at the St. Andrew Remand Centre in Stony Hill are to be transferred to Cape Clear, St. Mary, and the Stony Hill facility will then be designated a juvenile remand centre for girls.
The intention is to ensure that children on remand are housed in separate facilities from those who are the subject of correctional orders.