MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica - Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security Zavia Mayne says recent visits to correctional centres in several parishes are aimed at making proper assessments of their current condition.
In a release on Thursday, Mayne said the latest visits to the New Broughton Sunset Adult Correctional Centre (Manchester) and the Diamond Crest Facility (St Elizabeth) on Wednesday, August 10, were carried out byy Permanent Secretary, Courtney Williams, and Commissioner of Corrections Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Gary Rowe, to assess the facilities and to discuss future renovation plans.
“These tours are important, as they do give us an opportunity, first-hand, to look at the state of affairs. It’s not only about the conditions under which inmates are held but also the conditions under which the staff must work,” Mayne said.
The State Minister said the tour of New Broughton was particularly “encouraging”, noting that the Ministry's team was given an extensive look at the rehabilitation activities taking place and that they walked away “very impressed”.
He cited several of the agricultural activities taking place at the facility, pointing to pig and chicken rearing, and the planting of cash crops… all involving inmates.
“There is also an expansive banana cultivation work going on,” the State Minister added.
Mayne said this was the first time the Ministry team was venturing outside of the Kingston and St Andrew area, and that the New Broughton and Diamond Crest Correctional Centres are but two of the facilities the Department of Correctional Services will be looking at, especially since the successful rehabilitation of inmates is a critical part of the Ministry’s thrust as it relates to persons leaving prison and re-entering society.
The State Minister said it is in everybody’s interest that prisons do more than just be centres for incarceration, as oftentimes former inmates find themselves in a world very different from the one they left years before.
He pointed out that without a job, money or access, many former prisoners find it difficult to rebuild their lives, making them susceptible to ill-advised temptations.