Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Higher fines coming for persons trafficking contraband into prison

Published:Thursday | May 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
State Minister for National Security Rudyard Spencer.

The Government is taking steps to impose more stringent fines on persons who smuggle contraband into correctional facilities.

State Minister for National Security Rudyard Spencer said that the Government would be reviewing the Corrections Act to revise outdated aspects of the law by hiking fines for trafficking contraband into prison. The proposed amendments would also attempt to set out a clearer definition of contraband and other prohibited items.

"We also intend to install high-technology closed-circuit television system throughout all correctional and remand centres. This will significantly improve the Department of Correctional Services' monitoring capability and act as a deterrent to people wanting to bring prohibited items into the facilities," Spencer disclosed.

Other changes to the law would address the use of electronic tagging of inmates and the clarifying of the role of the probation officer in the supervision of children who need monitoring while serving non-custodial sentences.

According to Spencer, the Government was also exploring the separation of the justice system for adults and children following an assessment of other jurisdictions. "This, in our view, will be a game changer in how we deal with juvenile offenders and define our success at rehabilitation of these offenders into productive members of society," he said.

The state minister also highlighted plans to introduce an electronic case-management system to replace the current paper-based system to support effective offender management. Spencer disclosed that an electronic case-management system was identified in Brazil that can be replicated in Jamaica with minor adjustments. It is expected that the implementation of this system would improve the monitoring and treatment of offenders. This is slated for completion in financial year 2018-19.