JPs need to do more jailhouse visits
Anti-corruption campaigner, Professor Trevor Munroe, says lay magistrates need to more forcefully carry out their roles in safeguarding the welfare of persons in the custody of the Jamaican state.
Lay magistrates or justices of the peace are expected to visit Jamaica’s police lock-ups at least once each week.
They are empowered to visit and conduct various activities, including, among other things, inspecting facilities and interviewing detainees on their treatment.
They also must make appropriate recommendations on areas that need fixing.
Referencing the recent death of 31-year-old Mario Deane, the executive director of the National Integrity Action told St Andrew lay magistrates at their quarterly meeting on the weekend that they must do more.
Professor Munroe says by carrying out their visits, the JPs are upholding the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms which asserts that persons detained must be treated humanely.
Professor Munroe says the JPs are to ensure that their reports about the state of lock-ups and the condition of detainees on the visits are truthful.
Jamaica’s lock-ups are generally overcrowded, resulting in cells significantly exceeding their maximum number of detainees.
Mario Deane died on August 6, three days after he was severely beaten at the Barnett Street Police Station in St James.
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