A New Path programme helping juvenile wards reintegrate into society
More than 100 juvenile wards of the state at the South Camp and Metcalfe facilities have successfully been reintegrated into mainstream society under the A New Path programme.
Minister of State, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr says 123 girls and 114 boys, have been returned to formal education at the secondary and tertiary level since 2014, when the programme was launched.
He says four wards have obtained employment and 19 boys have been enrolled in programmes at the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL).
Additionally, 280 wards have received psycho-social support and 160 wards have been released from the South Camp and Metcalfe facilities.
It was achieved under a project titled ‘A New Path – Promoting a Healthy Environment and Productive Alternatives for Juvenile Remandees and Offenders in Jamaica’.
It engaged wards with activities in a six-week summer programme with the assistance of Junior Achievement, a music programme in collaboration with the National Youth Orchestra and a sports aspect facilitated by the Youth for Development Network.
The ministry says post-release support also forms a critical element of the New Path project.
It says once the wards are released, this is followed up with counselling, home visits and telephone conversations.
The State Minister recently led a delegation to Santiago de Chile as part of the second phase of the initiative to observe the functioning of the Chilean juvenile justice system and exchange best practices to enhance the operation of correctional facilities in both jurisdictions.
The ministry says it is anticipated that in the third phase, the Chilean government will send representatives to Jamaica to work in juvenile correctional centres.
The project which is managed by the OAS and the Trust for the America, is financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at a cost of US$1.93 million.