Offender Management Policy and amended Corrections Act herald new beginning for DCSFriday, September 24, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Matthew Samuda says the new Offender Management Policy and amendments to the Corrections Act will herald a new beginning for corrections in Jamaica.
The Offender Management Policy, which is being spearheaded by the Offender Management, Rehabilitation Policy and Parole Board Administration Branch in the ministry, has been drafted and is expected to be completed by year-end.
During his State of the Nation presentation in the Upper House earlier today, Samuda said a second draft of the policy is currently under review.
“This document will establish a blueprint for increasing the support received by all offenders from entry into the correctional facility, throughout the rehabilitation process and during reintegration. The policy will focus less on punitive measures and instead support Successful Offender Outcomes,” Samuda shared.
His presentation outlined several plans to advance the Department of Correctional Service (DCS), tackle recidivism and facilitate the seamless reintegration of inmates into society.
The ministry is also leading the effort to revamp the legislative framework that governs the administration of corrections in Jamaica, specifically through the amendments to the Corrections Act, 1985 and Correctional Institutional (Adult Correctional Centre) Rule, 1991.
According to Samuda, the legislation will provide significant support for the changes which are being proposed by the Offender Management Policy.
“To note, we have decided to approach the legislative overhaul in two phases. The comprehensive review of the Corrections Act is ongoing...In addition to the general updating of the law, special attention is being paid to curtailment of the flow of prohibited items through Jamaica's correctional institutions,” he explained.
On June 7, 2021, the Cabinet approved the issuance of drafting instructions for legislative amendments to various sections of the Corrections Act and the Adult Institutions Rules, to address the issue of prohibited items permeating Jamaica's correctional institutions and to stem unauthorised communication within the facilities.
The ministry said the first phase of the amendment is intended to provide stronger legislative support to security arrangements and controls within the correctional institutions while facilitating tighter control over prohibited articles being transported in and out of the facilities.
The Government reaffirmed its commitment to accomplishing successful offender outcomes through necessary interventions, development of new and greater partnerships, particularly for rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates and wards in the custody of the DCS.