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Dept. Of Correctional Services To Expand Rehabilitation Programme
KINGSTON (JIS) -- The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has received US$2.5 million to expand its rehabilitation programme. The programme, ‘New Path Project’, which began at the South Camp Correctional Centre, was implemented in collaboration with Trust for the Americas, a non-profit agency of the Organization of American States (OAS). The project promotes productive alternatives for juvenile remandees and offenders in Jamaica. It offers and facilitates weekly counselling, the implementation of educational and vocational training, conflict resolution programmes as well as the opportunity for apprenticeship and internship. Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., who gave details at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on March 15, said the project is in its second phase and will extend to two more correctional facilities, starting with Hilltop and the Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional centres.
“Although we are expanding, we plan to keep the structure of the first phase in terms of all the vocational and educational activities. For phase two, we will introduce a follow-up system to check on juveniles within six to 12 months after leaving the centres,” he noted.
Senator Charles said that phase two of the ‘New Path Project’ will include a greater involvement from the social workers and parole officers, in order to continue engaging the wards in educational activities or provide them with economic opportunities.
“This programme is not a one-time intervention; we want to ensure they have persons assigned to them to assist with their transition, reintegration into society and further development,” he said.
The State Minister pointed out that the project is targeting 60 persons per year and he is hopeful that this number will grow beyond the projection.
Senator Charles said the programme is one of the most instrumental in the DCS, because of its comprehensive nature, which allows the wards to build their capacity through skills training.
“Getting funds to start phase two of the project is a significant move and a worthwhile investment. These children will be released back into society and we want to do our best at rehabilitating them to become better citizens,” the State Minister said.