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1,500 JPs to get mediation training

Published:Monday | September 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Karen Campbell-Bascoe

The Justice Training Institute is to train and sensitise more than 1,500 justices of the peace (JPs) this year, focusing on mediation techniques and restorative justice.

This was disclosed by director and principal of the Justice Training Institute Karen Campbell-Bascoe.

"There are several other areas in which we want to have a number of JPs trained, and we will continue the programme in successive years to ensure that a large number of JPs are able to offer these services across the island," she said.

Campbell-Bascoe pointed out that specialised training is delivered by experts within the field, adding that the training would further equip the JPs to better assist citizens while carrying out their duties.

She noted that in addition to the specialised training, the JPs receive mandatory hours of training before they are commissioned.

Campbell-Bascoe said that since February 2017, more than 400 new individuals had been commissioned to serve as JPs. She added that more than 250 JPs were being trained for the parish of St Catherine, noting that training had been undertaken in Kingston, St Andrew and St Thomas.

"So the numbers are increasing. A year and a half ago, we were at about 6,200 JPs. Now, we have over 7,000 JPs serving, and we will continue to grow those numbers. We want each citizen to be able to identify a JP as soon as their services are required," she said.

"Our JPs are important to us. They serve a critical role within the justice system, and if our citizens aren't able to access the services, then it may cause a breakdown within the justice system, and we just can't afford that," Campbell-Bascoe emphasised.

In the meantime, she said that the Ministry of Justice would be establishing 14 Parish Justice Centres across the island, which would offer services such as mediation and restorative justice, and allow citizens to interact with the ministry, the custos, and JPs.

"Already, we have opened a justice centre in St Ann, and there are plans to open five more before the end of the year. The additional ones should be opened in 2018," she added.

The broad mandate of the JTI is to train, equip, and certify employees in the justice system with the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes to enable them to discharge their functions in a satisfactory manner.