The first two young offenders have taken up residence at the Grand Bacolet Juvenile Rehabilitation and Treatment Centre, which was officially opened two weeks ago by government.
According to Minister of Culture, Senator Brenda Hood, the two young persons who are under the age of 18 will receive the best rehab treatment in order to ensure that they are reinstituted back into society to help with their own development.
Minister Hood told reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex on Tuesday that although government is not pleased that such a facility had to be built, it is happy to have provided an alternative for young offenders.
“We are in the real world and things do happen and the two persons are in there right now and if the facility were not open, they would have had to go to Richmond Hill Prison. The plan will be for us to rehabilitate as many persons as possible and as I said they can go back into the community and make worthwhile contributions,” she said.
“It was a few years ago when we were in office that we started to develop that project and it had stuck with the previous administration but we felt it was necessary because we understand that studies have shown, when you involve and you mix young people with hardcore criminals, they too become criminals”, she added.
Sen. Hood noted that when young persons go into prison with the intention of helping to rehabilitate them, most of the time they come back out worst than they were.
She sought to explain to the media what determines whether a young offender is sent to the rehab centre or the Richmond Hill prison.
“It depends on the crime that they committed, depends on their age because remember we sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child and ratified it and a child is under 18 by law – the Magistrates, the legal people understand it. If it’s somebody that is really, really bad, you may need to have Psychiatric treatment,” she said.
Sen. Hood believes that the Bacolet facility and what it is offering should be a model to the rest of the OECS to follow suit.