Kudos to Mr Holness, and questions for the Gov’t

News post October 2, 2015

Andrew Holness

IF people divest themselves of their political blinkers they will agree with Opposition Leader Andrew Holness that England’s grant of £25 million towards the construction of a new state-of-the-art prison in Jamaica is money that could be better spent.

Mr Holness, we feel, was the only one of our parliamentarians brave enough to make that point in the legislature on Wednesday morning when British Prime Minister David Cameron addressed a joint sitting of the Parliament.

“The key lesson here is that educating our people, especially as it relates to skills training, is the best way to spur human development, support a growth agenda, and keep them out of prison. Indeed, schools contribute more to economic growth and human development than do prisons,” Mr Holness said.

If we are to be totally honest with ourselves we will admit that Mr Holness articulated what many of us were thinking after Mr Cameron’s announcement.

That, however, does not take away from the fact that what Jamaica now has as a prison system is totally unacceptable. We all know of the problem of overcrowding. For instance, the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, more popularly known as General Penitentiary, was built to accommodate 850, yet it has a population of almost 1,700. And the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre, which was also designed for 850 inmates, has a population of just over 1,000.

Add to that the other harsh conditions under which inmates, an indeed workers, exist in the island’s prisons and you can appreciate why rehabilitation efforts are not as effective as we would wish them to be. Indeed, some ex-convicts have, in the past, admitted publicly that they have been hardened by their experience of being incarcerated.

No one, therefore, is denying that there is great need for improvement in the correctional system, as the infrastructure is ancient and inefficient.

Our question, though, is from where will the Jamaican Government divert the remainder of the funds needed to construct this state-of-the art prison? After all, the last estimate made public two years ago was $25 billion to build a new 5,000-capacity prison. And if the Administration does find the money, who will manage and maintain the facility, given that our own people have presided over the deterioration of what now exists?

The idea of private prisons has been raised before, and it should, we believe, be examined again with more purpose. There are examples of privately run prisons in other jurisdictions that provide humane treatment to incarcerated individuals and where correctional staff work in comfort.

These are issues that the Government must address before it starts clicking its heels in glee at Prime Minister Cameron’s grant.

 

 

Published By: The Observer

No Tags

200 total views, 2 today

  

Leave a Reply

  • Penalise politicians who provide service on a partisan basis ­ — Meadows

    by on January 26, 2016 - 0 Comments

    JLP caretaker calls for action as Trelawny residents take to the street Placard-bearing residents gather at a section of the Salt Marsh to Goodwill main road yesterday to protest against the poor road conditions in the area.  SALT MARSH, Trelawny — Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) caretaker for Trelawny Northern Dennis Meadows yesterday called for laws […]

  • Will Cameron Speak On Reparation?

    by on September 29, 2015 - 0 Comments

    In pic: Prime Minister David Cameron. Olivia Grange said she believes Cameron would consider it unusual to be visiting Jamaica at this time in history and have extensive discussions with top government officials and not have the subject of reparation raised at some point. The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is questioning whether the Government will […]

  • Constable Crystal Thomas

    by on July 16, 2015 - 0 Comments

    She fought to the end | Lead Stories | Jamaica Gleaner Woman Constable Crystal Thomas Norman Grindley Senior Superintendent of Police Cornwall ‘Bigga’ Ford (right) escorts National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who visited the Denham Town Police Station in west Kingston, to get an update after the murder of woman Constable Crystal Thomas, who was […]

  • http://www.insightjamaica.com/

    by on July 4, 2015 - 0 Comments

    You can post your add here for free.

  • Singjay J Capri dies

    by on December 4, 2015 - 1 Comments

    KINGSTON, Jamaica — Sources have confirmed that singjay J Capri, who was hospitalised for more than a week following a motor vehicle crash, has died. The entertainer reportedly succumbed to her injuries this morning at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew. Read: J Capri hospitalised after car crash Social media users on […]

Follow Us on Facebook