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Part One: Introduction and Statutory Framework


guidance is lent greater legal weight by a growing body of international jurisprudence in which the SMR have played an increasingly important interpretative role where prison conditions have been found to breach general prohibitions on inhuman and degrading treatment.10


Domestic Law i. Te 1962 Jamaican Constitution


Te 1962 Constitution contains the supreme law of Jamaica. Section 2 of Chapter I determines that any laws which are inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution shall be void to the extent of the inconsistency.


Chapter III of the Constitution governs fundamental rights and freedoms. Section 17 of Chapter III provides that ‘No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.’


ii. Te Corrections Act and the Correctional Institution (Adult Correctional Centre) Rules


As regards primary legislation, the Jamaican penal system is governed by the Corrections Act of 1985. Te Act established the office of Commissioner of Corrections and renamed the island’s prisons as ‘Correctional Centres’. It is a lengthy piece of legislation which governs the general administration of the island’s penal system. Inter alia, it contains chapters covering the release and transfer of inmates, categorisation, discipline and punishment, and rehabilitative schemes. Te Act further contains provisions relating to probation and the ‘after-care’ of inmates, establishes an Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders and a Board of Visiting Justices, and makes provision for the inspection of the penal institutions.


Section 81 of the Corrections Act conveys a power upon the Minister of National Security to ‘make rules (in this Act referred to as Correctional Institution Rules) generally for the good management of correctional institutions and the control of inmates and for carrying out the objects of this Act’.


Te Correctional Institution (Adult Correctional Centre) Rules were established under this power in 1991. Te Rules provide a more detailed subsidiary framework for the day to day administration of adult correctional centres. Tey contain provisions setting out the roles and duties of specific members of staff, including superintendents and medical officers, and supplement the provisions of the Corrections Act regarding transfer,


See for instance Peers v Greece [2001] 33 EHRR 1192, Kalashnikov v Russia [2003] 34 EHRR 36, and in the UK Napier v Scottish Ministers [2005] 1 SC 229.


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