CIVIL-SOCIETY groups are optimistic the 'Lift Up, Don't Lock Up Our Children' campaign is catching on with the public.
The campaign attempts to keep children out of lock-ups and correctional facilities, and calls for a whole restructuring of the current system.
The campaign was launched in December as a response from groups including Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), Hear The Children's Cry and Children First.
"We had some good presence over the Christmas. We're looking at changing some of the messages that we've been putting out and getting them up on the billboards again," said Dr Carolyn Gomes, JFJ executive director.
Gomes said she hoped the new message would be ready soon, including a social media presence.
"All of that is being worked on to step up the programme going into February," she said.
Dr Gomes noted that persons had taken notice of their efforts.
Need for change
"We've had people comment about it, both in the personal and organisational capacity, about the campaign and about the need for change for these children," she said.
"No matter how airy a cage is, it is still a cage, and inappropriate."
Part of the groups' argument was that many of the children incarcerated did not need to be there.
Quoting statistics from organisations such as the Child Development Agency, the groups noted 40 per cent of children in remand were locked up for "non-violent offences".
The groups also said nearly 70 per cent of children in conflict with the law did not have a lawyer present and were more likely to plead guilty.
Meanwhile, the civil-society groups said that they were considering taking the Government to court for its failure to keep children out of lock-ups.
Carol Narcisse of the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition said all options were still open but directed The Gleaner to Dr Gomes, who was equally cautious in her response.
"We're still pursuing that option, but we're not ready to say anything specific," she said.