KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday March 2, 2018 – The Jamaica Government is looking at plans to build a correctional facility in the central part of the island.
National Security Minister Robert Montague made the disclosure during the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament meeting on Wednesday, against the background of concerns about the state of the Tower Street Correctional Centre in Kingston where a tunnel was recently discovered, and the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre.
Montague 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.