KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is set to benefit from the implementation of an electronic Jail Management System, under the Ministry of National Security’s Security Strengthening Project (SSP).
The $117 million investment is being undertaken through a partnership involving the DCS, Synergy International Systems, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Ministry of National Security.
The new system is expected to allow for a more efficient tracking of inmates, easier sharing of information to other stakeholders such as Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Courts and real time capturing of, and analysis of information.
It is also expected to eliminate the paper-based Jail Management System used by DCS.
The system will also improve data integrity and reports, while providing seamless integration among the DCS, the JCF and other agencies of the Ministry of National Security.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Courtney Williams said the system aims to strengthen the Department’s technological capabilities.
“The signing of this contract to begin the implementation process of this activity is quite timely and this is so, as the government continues to strengthen the capabilities of the nation’s security architecture by investing and building sustainable partnerships with public, private and international partners. This in order to fully leverage technological tools to apply strategic data-driven measures,” he said.
Williams was speaking at the recent contract signing ceremony between the Government and Synergy International Systems for the supply of a jail management system, at the offices of the Ministry of National Security.
“Like other government agencies, the DCS is challenged with the system of records management. This cumbersome task of collecting data manually using over 40 different books and forms, remains a risk to the efficient functioning of the organisation. In addition, the absence of a system-wide access to records, due to the lack of a single or central repository form of inmate information, continues to compromise the integrity of the data collected and managed,” the permanent secretary said.
He noted that the implementation of the system will bring about well needed benefits to all stakeholders involved in the supervising, rehabilitating and reintegration of offenders.
For his part, Deputy Commissioner of Corrections, Dr Marc Thomas, said through the initiative, the DCS is moving closer to becoming a centre of excellence in correctional management in the Caribbean.
“Our non-custodial clients number around 3,000. They are supervised by probation officers in every parish. The incarcerated population is around 3,700 across 11 correctional institutions, and if you take a look inside the walls right now, you will find thousands of inmates engaged in various rehabilitation programmes, academic pursuits, vocational courses, life skills, sports therapy, you name it,” Thomas said.
He added that it was nothing short of a miracle that the DCS has been operating a paper-based operation for so long.
“This jail management system will allow us to move from a paper based system to a more agile computerised management system, therefore we expect to see more efficient tracking of inmates from admission to release, easier sharing of information to stakeholders for example the JCF…the Courts, as well as the real time capturing of analysis and information, all of which bodes well not just for efficiency, but also for transparency and accountability,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer, Synergy International Systems Inc, Dr Ashot Hovanesian, said the project will strengthen the Department’s capacity in their operations in the justice sector.