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Jamaica: ‘Jail block’ ultimatum – Lock down inhumane child penalty chamber – INDECOM

The reputed ‘jail block’, where wards at the Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre are sent for punishment, even being stripped to their underwear, should immediately be scrapped, a watchdog agency has said.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Hugh Faulkner, head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), argued that the law allowed for a child who committed an offence should be sent to the correctional facility.

However, he is calling for the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to review the practice of placing children already in detention in further confinement as a means of punishment.

“We are saying that the ‘jail block’ should not be part of the infrastructure of the Rio Cobre Correctional Centre,” said Faulkner.

“It is exacerbated by the fact that they are locked up in such a manner that tragedy might occur if the keys were not accessible.”

A special report on the juvenile correctional facility cited one instance in June 2020 in which a ward was placed in the jail block where he had a seizure, but the key could not be found. It was later discovered that a member of staff had left the premises with the key to have a duplicate made.

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