This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Report on Prison Conditions in Jamaica


required. Several officers voiced their concerns that the global economic crisis and Jamaica’s ongoing funding problems with the International Monetary Fund would only serve to make life harder in the correctional centres. Tere is clearly no lack of desire for reform from those who have to live and work within the harsh realities of the system.


While in the short term, there are measures that could undoubtedly be taken by the Department of Correctional Services to improve matters (for instance, overcrowding in the sentenced population could be eased by utilising the whole blocks of cells that stand empty at HARC, as argued above), in the long term, incidents such as the fire which claimed the lives of seven girls at Armadale in 2009 will only be avoided through significant financial investment, greater staff numbers, and the construction of modern penal facilities.44


Whether the funding for such reform comes from international or


domestic sources – and it should never be forgotten that thousands of Jamaican prisoners languish in buildings which were built and used by the British to house their enslaved ancestors – the argument that, as a developing nation, Jamaica has pressing social needs, which are more deserving of assistance than the living conditions of convicted criminals, should not hold sway. As the UN Human Rights Committee stated in Mukong v Cameroon45


:


As to the conditions of detention in general, the committee observes that certain minimum standards regarding the conditions of detention must be observed regardless of a State party’s level of development. Tese include, in accordance with rules 10, 12, 17, 19 and 20 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, minimum floor space and cubic content of air for each prisoner, adequate sanitary facilities, clothing which shall be in no manner degrading or humiliating, provision of a separate bed and provision of food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength. It should be noted that these are minimum requirements which the Committee considers should always be observed, even if economic or budgetary considerations make compliance with these obligations difficult.


In fact, as this report was being completed, on 5th February 2010, after months of


negotiations, the IMF granted a $1.27 billion US dollar loan to Jamaica. Te conditions of this loan included a commitment by the Jamaican Government to ‘increase spending on better targeted social programs by 25 percent’.46


A proportion of these funds should be


committed to the Ministry of National Security to implement the reforms that the Jamaican penal system so desperately requires. Failing such a commitment, and in the absence of further specifically targeted international or Government funding, Jamaican prisoners will continue to exist in inhuman, degrading, and archaic conditions. It was Nelson Mandela, a hero to many Jamaicans, after whom a major road and public park in Kingston are named, and whose visit to the country on his release from prison in 1991


44 45 46


With regard to the latter, the lessons of the sub-standard construction of HARC in the early 2000s should be borne in mind. (1994) UN Doc CCPR/C/51/D/458/1991.


International Monetary Fund Website, 4th February 2010. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2010/NEW020410A.htm 56


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com