A new Correctional Institution for juveniles is to open this year in St James and the Tamarind Farm Adult Institution is to be expanded and upgraded into a transition centre for first time offenders.
These are among some of the new initiatives being pursued by the Department of Correctional Services in an effort to improve its services.
Head of the Department of Correctional Services Major Richard Reece said the new Juvenile Institution will be located at the Old Jamaica Defence Force Training Camp at Montpelier in St James.
He said the facility, which was used to house Haitian refugees last year, has been acquired by the Department and is already undergoing upgrading work.
Major Reece made this disclosure while delivering the main address at a function put on by the St Ann Probation Officers Support Group in St Ann's Bay on recently.
90% of the funding that will be provided to restore that facility, will be provided by religious groups, non-governmental organisations and various charities," he explained.
Major Reece said that based on the amount of work done already he is confident that the institution will be completed according to schedule and that as soon as it gazette, it will be opened to accommodate approximately 250 male juvenile offenders.
He also said that the opening of the new facility will increase the workload on the staff of the department Western Region and so additional staff will have to be employed to serve that region.
Commenting on the planned expansion of the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre, the head of the department of correctional services pointed out that a transition centre for first time offenders would be established at that facility.
"We will also be introducing our offender management system which, basically will automate our current offender record. This system will be linked to the police and it will also be linked to the courts and it will make our work much more efficient," he added.
The function, which was chaired by Justice of the Peace Mrs. Dorothy Salmon, was organised by the St Ann probation officers support group to dedicate a water cooler to the staff of the probation office.
Major Reece praised the work of the support group and described the gift of a water cooler to the staff as a "symbol of care and togetherness".
Custos of St Ann Radcliffe Walters who also spoke at the function commended the support group for the services to the St Ann community.
Rev. E. Cummings who is also a member of the support group did the dedication of the cooler.