Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says that the Government will be equipping one police station per parish to deal with issues relating to children.
Addressing the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of St. Andrew held on Tuesday, January 29, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, she informed that the police stations have been identified and the costing prepared to be presented to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, following which a submission will be made to Cabinet for approval.
She noted that the project will be implemented under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
On the matter of children in correctional facilities, the Minister stated that efforts are being made to improve accommodation for juveniles. She noted that the Ministry of National Security has upgraded the South Camp Rehabilitation Centre to house inmates that will be moved from Fort Augusta “in very short order”.
“The girls will be kept separate from the women in two different facilities while on the same compound, but in different dorms and they will be partitioned so they won’t intermingle with each other,” she explained.
In addition to Fort Augusta, girls are also being housed at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre on Spanish Town Road and at Armadale (Diamond Crest) Juvenile Correctional Centre in Manchester.
Minister Hanna said that in circumstances where a child is remanded for care and protection they are immediately removed from the adult facility. If, however, the child is remanded for uncontrollable behaviour, then that becomes the remit of the Department of Correctional Services, she pointed out.
She informed that approximately 30 children were removed from adult correctional facilities last year.
Minister Hanna also advised that the Justice Ministry has just completed a national plan of action for violence against children, which will look at mediation opportunities and parish committees to keep children out of court.
She noted however, that under the Child Care Protection Act, a judge has the authority to remand a child to an adult facility if they see it fit to do so.