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    • Thirty-seven wards and members of staff of the Hill Top Juvenile Facility, who have successfully completed a drama and theatre programme, were feted on Monday (October 27), during a closing ceremony held at the institution in St. Ann.
    • The six-week programme, dubbed ‘From Training to Stage’ was undertaken by the Ministry of National Security as part of its youth-offender rehabilitation initiative.
    • Youth for Arts and Recreational Development (YARD) Empire carried out the training in the areas of acting, playwriting and stage presentation.

    Thirty-seven wards and members of staff of the Hill Top Juvenile Facility, who have successfully completed a drama and theatre programme, were feted on Monday (October 27), during a closing ceremony held at the institution in St. Ann.

    The six-week programme, dubbed ‘From Training to Stage’ was undertaken by the Ministry of National Security as part of its youth-offender rehabilitation initiative.

    Youth for Arts and Recreational Development (YARD) Empire carried out the training in the areas of acting, playwriting and stage presentation.

    Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, in his remarks at the function, said the Ministry, through the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), continues to promote a healthy environment and productive alternatives for juvenile remandees and offenders in Jamaica.

    “The mandate of the DCS, as it relates to the island’s 11 [correctional] institutions, is to achieve a fulsome transformation of all offenders. At the end of the day, all offenders should be successfully rehabilitated so that upon release, they are productive, law-abiding citizens, thereby contributing to lower crime levels,” he pointed out.

    He said researchers have found that high-maximum risk facilities with restrictive social norms tend to be short-term solutions and cause more damage to the psychosocial nature of the offenders.

    “The Department has taken note of best practices and is continuously implementing rehabilitation activities through drama and the creative arts, community involvement, education, agriculture among others,” he noted.

    Mr. Spencer encouraged the wards who participated in the training programme to make use of the skills learnt to better themselves.

    “You are here to acquire all the skills and knowledge you need to survive in your communities and will leave here better than you came,” he said.

    The closing ceremony included dramatic presentations by the wards and staff.

    YARD Empire, which conducted the training, seeks to influence change through participation and exposure to the performing and visual arts with a view to optimise youth potential and thus improve outlook, self-value and the scope for positive reintegration into society.