The Jamaica Government is currently looking at plans to have a correctional facility built in the central part of the island. In the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament meeting that was held on Wednesday, the announcement was made by the National Security Minister Robert Montague. It is said that the decision to have the new structure built was made against concerns of a tunnel being discovered at the Tower Street Correctional Centre in Kingston, in addition to the appalling condition of the St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre.
In Montague’s statement, he also disclosed that a reclassification of inmates is underway, following on from an audit of inmates which has already been completed.
“What we found was that we had persons charged for minor crimes being housed with persons charged with extremely serious crimes,” he said.
“The reclassification is correcting that and we are moving out some persons from these two maximum security prisons into, say, Richmond and Tamarind Farm Correctional Centres. Once that is completed, we (will) have the electronic monitoring programme….So we will be able to release some persons early, as well as increase rehabilitation programmes,” the Minister added.
The Government has budgeted JAM$168 million (US$1.3 million) in the 2018/19 fiscal year to undertake construction and renovation works at several correctional facilities as well as improve the Department of Correctional Services’ mobility.
That work includes constructing an external changing area utilizing retrofitted containers, and a new block for the mentally ill at Tower Street; and repairs to the inmate accommodation building at St Catherine.