DCS using education to tackle recidivism — Minister SamudaThursday, May 06, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Matthew Samuda says the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is working to improve classroom infrastructure as well as compensation packages for the teachers of the over 190 wards in its care.
“Unfortunately, delivering the desired quality of education in our juvenile facilities remains a challenge. DCS suffers from teacher shortages as well as a high turnover rate of the teachers it manages to attract. The shortage of teachers also limits the range of academic and vocational subjects being taught. Additionally, the learning spaces in our juvenile facilities require upgrading and the collection of educational tools and materials will have to be augmented”, Samuda said.
The minister, during his address at the Rotary Club of Kingston's virtual luncheon earlier this afternoon, said education is a key component in reducing recidivism among wards and aids in their successful reintegration into society.
He pointed out that despite the constraints, the majority of wards are enrolled in an academic programme to sit for the Jamaica School Certificate (JSC) examination, the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC), the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE). The wards are also placed in remedial programmes.
Samuda pointed out that examination fees, the provision of educational resources and the implementation of life skills programmes are funded by the Ministry of Education, Rise Life Management, Stand Up for Jamaica as well as the Ministry of National Security's We Transform Youth Empowerment Programme.
“Through education, we are endeavouring to expose our wards to a variety of different career options. This means that the detention of these wards is not merely a punishment or a deterrent for would-be offenders, but an opportunity to provide these children with a degree of care and attention of which they had been deprived until they entered our facilities and there cannot be limits to their nutrition and health or education,” he said.
The ministry said the We Transform Programme is a youth development and transformation initiative geared towards reducing recidivism among youth through a suite of evidence-based interventions. It said the programme is expected to facilitate internship placement opportunities, additional training and grants for wards.
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