Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Costly inmates - Jamaicans pay $1.3m to maintain each prisoner annually

Published:Saturday | February 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Pearnel Charles Jr

Jamaicans are paying approximately $1.3 million per inmate for their maintenance each year, according to Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, state minister in the Ministry of National Security, as he added his voice to the State of the Nation debate, focusing on issues related to the penal system.

"The cost of the care and maintenance of inmates and wards is an issue. It has always been an issue of concern for our country," said Charles Jr.

He said that the ministry was trying to find ways to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers.

He disclosed that the rate of reoffending is currently 42 per cent, and it now includes convicted individuals who were not imprisoned.

Charles Jr argued: "So it (the rate) would automatically go up, but in our view, we believe that it is a better way for us to get an authentic view of measuring our success."

According to Charles Jr, there will be keen focus on streamlining the operations of the Department of Correctional Services to strengthen service delivery and accountability. This includes looking at the transformation of the organisational structure, the use of new equipment, and an evaluation of staff management.