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'Locking up persons for minor offences contributing to overcrowding in lock-ups'

Published:Wednesday | September 3, 2014 | 12:47 PM
Yvonne McCalla Sobers. - File

Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Human rights lobby group Families Against State Terrorism says the Police High Command and the Ministry of National Security must intervene to address overcrowding at police lock-ups.

The call is in response to a draft report by Justices of the Peace which show that a number of Corporate Area police lock-ups are overcrowded with detainees being held in inhumane conditions.

Convenor Yvonne McCalla Sobers says a big part of the problem is that the police have been detaining persons and then carrying out investigations.

McCalla Sobers says this is a serious violation of personal liberty.

According to her, the overcrowding at lock-ups is also as a result of the police detaining persons for minor offences out of spite.

She says most often it is the poor who are affected by these practises.

The human rights lobbyist says these violations not only breach the Constitution but also have economic implications.

McCalla Sobers says Resident Magistrates should visit police lock-ups more often to determine those who are being held in custody and the conditions under which they are being housed.

She further argues that magistrates should apply more non-custodial sentences for minor offences.

The human rights lobbyist says this will help to ease the overcrowding problem in police lock-ups.

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