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Preface


Although I had been brought face to face with the horrible conditions in our penal institutions by reason of having chaired the Commission of Enquiry into the St. Catherine District Prison in 1974 this detailed report on the existing conditions in our two major correctional institutions has evoked distress, disappointment and shame.


Tim Owen QC and Alison McDonald have produced an excellent overview which is obviously authenticated by James Robottom’s detailed observation and careful analysis, although they were understandably unable to conceal the shock they experienced. Tis Report should be read and re-read by Jamaicans in general but more particularly by the Prime Minister, Ministers responsible for the correctional services and youth, by judges and magistrates, by the leaders of the Church and Bar.


Jamaica has been in the forefront of the fight for freedom and the recognition of the inherent dignity of each human being. We have acceded to major international human rights conventions. We have sought to portray an image of warm brotherhood and sisterhood. Yet in a new century and at our very doorstep, there is callous inhumaneness and indifference.


Although our experience is that disclosures of this type have not succeeded in inducing meaningful reforms, one still ventures to hope that the authorities will be shamed into reaction and action.


Dr Lloyd G. Barnett OJ Chairman, Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights


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