KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday May 22, 2019 – The Ministry of Justice is moving to operationalize the Child Diversion Act which steers children away from the formal justice system to prevent them being treated as criminals.
That revelation from Justice Minister Delroy Chuck who said the process of implementing the administrative infrastructure is underway so the legislation can be operationalized within a couple of weeks.
“Children are brought into this world as blank slates, and it is our impressions upon them that determine the way in which they will operate in society,” he said.
“The Ministry of Justice is ensuring that when children are charged or find themselves committing minor offences, they are not pulled before the court at the first opportunity, but they are taken to the child diversion officer and, hopefully, we can find a way to assist those children to go on the straight and narrow path.”
Over the next 10 months, the Ministry will be rolling out the programme in all 14 parishes.
The Child Diversion Act was passed a year ago.
Child diversion is the process of implementing measures to deal with children who are alleged, accused or recognized to have infringed the penal law, without resorting to formal judicial proceedings.
The main objectives of the Child Diversion Act are ensuring that every child in conflict with the law is treated in a manner that recognizes and upholds human dignity and worth; diverting the child away from engaging in deviant and delinquent behaviours; and instilling in the child respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.