JIS News

Relatives and friends of inmates of the St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre can now wait to see their loved ones in the comfort of a visitors’ booth situated opposite the institution.
Mayor of Spanish Town, Raymoth Notice, officially opened the facility at a ceremony held on Friday (June 3). The event was organised by the Department of Correctional Services.
There facility, which is a zinc-roofed concrete structure with fixed seating, was built through the collaborative efforts of private and government agencies, with Carib Cement Company, Tank Weld Metals, businessman Richard Azan and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce donated building materials, while the St. Catherine Parish Council provided the land on which the booth was constructed. The inmates helped to construct the centre under the supervision of the staff of the Department of Correctional Services.
Speaking to JIS News at the opening, Commissioner of Corrections, Major Richard Reese, said the construction of the booth was the idea of staff members of the correctional centre and Councillor Enos Lawrence.
Over the years, he said, visitors to the institution have had to queue on the roadway in the sun for several hours before they were allowed to enter the compound. He noted that there was also the problem of illegal vending along the roadway and traffic congestion.
“So with the construction of this visitors’ booth, it will relieve traffic congestion, it has relieved illegal vending, it has provided comfort, control and an orderly approach to the processing of visitors,” the Commissioner said.
Additionally, he pointed out, information such as the application for parole and reprieve by inmates as well as the procedures for release and fine payment would be shared with visitors at the booth. “So public education can take place here and persons will be in a comfortable setting,” he told JIS News.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Kern Spencer, in his address, commended those involved in the project and suggested that the model be replicated throughout the island by other penal institutions.
“I believe there is a security dimension to this visitors’ booth and it will lend itself to the orderly processing of visitors to the facility and help to minimise the possibility of any entry of contraband in the facility,” Senator Spencer said.
He said that the government, the community and citizens have an obligation to facilitate the rehabilitation of those who show remorse for crimes or felonies that they have committed, and even as the state worked to improve policing to curb the crime rate, similar efforts should be made to rehabilitate inmates.
He referred to the recent announcement by the Minister of National Security to build a new facility, which will accommodate some 5,000 inmates, where special emphasis will be placed on rehabilitation.
“When we finally build that institution.we will see some effective rehabilitation programmes coming to the fore which will also, in the long term, put a serious dent in the crime situation,” he stated.

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