Thu | Oct 19, 2017

Justice Ministry working for the release of mentally ill remandees

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 5:13 PM

The Ministry of Justice says it's taking steps to secure the release from prison mentally ill persons who are not fit to plead and who have not been tried.

The Ministry says priority is being given to individuals who have been in custody for periods which have exceeded the maximum sentence which could be imposed if he or she had been convicted.

There have been renewed calls for the government to address the problem after the case of 51-year-old Delroy McIntosh was highlighted.

McIntosh was released by the Savanna-la-Mar Resident Magistrate's Court last week Thursday, after spending almost 25 years in jail without trial on a charge of illegal possession of ganja.

The Justice Ministry says the Justice Minister has instructed that arrangements be put in place for applications to be made to the relevant courts for cases to be re-listed, with a view to have these matters dismissed in the interest of justice.

The Justice Ministry says the Ministries of Health and Social Security are to be engaged to ensure that upon their release, these persons receive assistance.

In the meantime, the Ministry says it is working with the Department of Correctional Services to get up-to-date psychiatric reports for mentally ill persons who are being held in custody.

It says currently, a psychiatric report is required when applying for judicial review for inmates held at the Court's pleasure.

The Ministry says it has so far received reports for nine persons and it has engaged the Legal Aid Council and the Norman Manley Law School Legal Aid Clinic to provide legal representation to these individuals.

It says lawyers who are on the Legal Aid Council's panel of attorneys will be engaged when additional psychiatric reports are made available.