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Outdoor recreation on the horizon for remanded juveniles

Published:Saturday | March 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson has instructed that plans be put in place to facilitate outdoor recreational activities for the remandees at the St Andrew Juvenile Remand Facility in Stony Hill, St Andrew.

Nelson gave his instructions following a tour of the facility Thursday. He was accompanied on the tour by Peter Bunting, the opposition's spokesman on national security.

The visit follows the recent report of the UN special rapporteur on torture. In the report, the special rapporteur said his visit demonstrated "a disturbing system of repression and regular corporal punishment".

"The boys on remand were never allowed to leave the buildings, depriving them of any recreational activities in the open air. The overseers appeared to be aware of the use of corporal punishment by certain warders, but did not give the impression of taking serious measures to deal with the situation," the report said.

According to a release from the Ministry of National Security, Nelson and Bunting were briefed by the superintendent in charge of the institution, Mabel Morris.

The ministry's release said Bunting commented that the facility was not ideal, but the situation did not appear to be as appalling as highlighted by the UN special rapporteur and human-rights groups Jamaicans for Justice.

Attempts by The Gleaner to contact Nelson and Bunting yesterday proved futile.

It was unclear what provisions were being made in the Budget, which is due to be tabled on March 25, to allow for the transformation Nelson has ordered.