Child diversion committees to be established
Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
Justice Minister Mark Golding has proposed to establish child diversion committees islandwide and charge them with the responsibility of monitoring children who have been diverted from the penal system.
According to Golding, these committees will also be responsible for determining the best course of treatment, ensuring their rehabilitation into society once they are removed from the penal system.
He argued that the establishment of these committees, which forms part of a project under the National Child Diversion Programme, is among several initiatives aimed at improving the state of justice in the country.
Recently, the National Child Diversion Programme was allocated $33.36 million in the 2012-2013 Estimates of Expenditure currently before the House of Representatives.
Golding, who was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for over 100 justices of the peace (JP) at the Jamaica Pegasus on Saturday night, said when established, JPs would be called upon to sit on these committees.
"Service towards others without the expectation of reward is a scarce commodity in our society today. It is this quality that justices of the peace have committed themselves to in the best interest of their country.
"This quality will be increasingly needed in our country as we try to navigate turbulent times ahead ... all of us will be called upon to do more with less," said Golding.
"Any service to the cause of justice is honourable, and I call upon you to act ... I call upon you to spread the innate virtue of volunteerism to your friends, to your neighbour, to your fellow citizens, to be ambassadors of civic duties, and to champion the restoration of brotherly and sisterly kindness that is lacking in our society," he further said.
Additionally, Golding said his Ministry would be seeking to expand the restorative justice and community justice project to four additional communities sometime this year.
Currently, the project is being piloted in four communities across Jamaica: Tower Hill, St Andrew; Spanish Town, St Catherine; May Pen, Clarendon; and Granville, St James.