Scott Mottley calls for secured facility for persons unfit to plead

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Scott Mottley calls for secured facility for persons unfit to plead

Friday, June 05, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — People's National Party spokesperson on Justice, Senator Donna Scott Mottley, says the case of Noel Chambers highlights the need for a secure facility outside of the penal system to house people charged with crimes, but deemed unfit to plead.

Scott Mottley said the idea of a separate secured facility for persons unfit to plead is not new.

“It was listed among recommendations made to the government by the Mental Health and Homelessness Task Force in 2017, by Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton,” she said in a statement. She noted that at the time when the recommendation was made there were approximately 200 persons incarcerated with mental health issues, and no evidence had been presented against them.

She said given the death of Chambers, the Government must move swiftly to implement the recommendations.

“As persons are deemed unfit to plead, there should be an immediate process of diversion which removes them from the penal structures into a suitable place of care. This would prevent or minimise anyone from being misplaced in the system,” Scott Mottley said

The spokesperson added that a dedicated team of investigators is needed, to determine the conditions of all persons who are currently incarcerated.

Scott Mottley also said that the Government should move immediately to a digitalisation of the court records, especially “at the point of interface with the correctional system to prevent errors such as those which led to the 40-year detention of Chambers”.

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