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JFJ: Gov't must address concerns about girls at South Camp facility

Published:Friday | September 13, 2013 | 8:44 AM

Human rights lobby group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), says it is time for the Government to address repeated concerns about the condition of girls now housed at the South Camp Road Rehabilitation Centre.



Last week, the Ministry of National Security said 61 juveniles were removed from adult correctional facilities and placed at the South Camp Road centre in accordance with the commitment made by the Minister of National Security Peter Bunting in June to completely separate juveniles from adults in the correctional system by the end of 2013.



But JFJ, is claiming that it has learnt that the facility is still under construction and far from being completed.



JFJ director, Susan Goffe says the organisation has also learnt that basic facilities such as classrooms for educational instruction are not ready.



She says the JFJ is now seeking answers from the Department of Correctional Services on the issue.



"We although have a great concern, which is ongoing about whether or not the children have been separated, according to legal status" stated Goffe. Those for example, who have already been convicted of a criminal offence, those who are on remand, and so have not yet completed their hearings before a court and those who are being held on other orders... if they are still being mixed in together, as is our understanding, what is the proposal by the Government for separating them."



The JFJ says no board of visitors has been appointed for the new South Camp Road Facility and no Non-Governmental Organizations have been allowed to tour the facility in the last three months.



Meanwhile, Mrs Goffe says the organisation will continue to use all appropriate avenues to raise the concerns until the Government addresses them.



The girls were previously housed at Diamond Crest Juvenile Correctional Centre and the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre.



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