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Gov't to build 300 cells at Tamarind Farm prison to house low risk inmates

Published:Tuesday | May 10, 2016 | 5:34 PM
In this 2014 file photo Superintendent Rudolf Edwards (right) of the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre joins Gillette Ramsay (left), a volunteer with Food for the Poor Jamaica, in sharing the good news with one of the three inmates released from the institution.

The Government is to build an additional 300 cells at the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St Catherine to house low risk inmates now being held in maximum security prisons.

According to Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, the state minister for national security, the initiative is part of a drive to restructure correctional institutions and rationalise the inmate population.

"I am aware of the myriad issues affecting the institutions, especially as they relate to overcrowding, the need for adequate rehabilitation programmes and the overall treatment and care of inmates; particularly those who are mentally ill," Charles said.

Last week, Charles met with staff of the Department of Correctional Centre from Region One (St. Mary, St. Thomas, Portland and Kingston and St. Andrew) about the impending changes.

The state minister says he will continue to establish public/private partnership arrangements that will include the provision of additional resources to boost rehabilitation programmes.

In the meantime, correctional officers have suggested that there also needs to be the digitisation of record keeping and collaboration with key ministries such as education and health.