February is the latest date given by the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell for the official start of the Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre at Grand Bacolet.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Religious Affairs, Senator Winston Garraway provided the new date at a recent weekly post-Cabinet Press briefing held at the Ministerial Complex.
According to Garraway, managerial staff who was trained in the US have already taken up position in the centre.
The Bacolet Rehabilitation Centre, which is built to house just about 24 persons, will be used as an alternative to sending Her Majesty’s prison at Richmond Hill those young people who find themselves in trouble with the law.
Sen. Garraway said the facility will be geared at providing treatment through counseling and training in an effort to re-establish young offenders back into the society.
“There will be counseling, of course there will be a lot (of) training for the young people to look at themselves and look at the gifts that they have and be able to employ them in various skills and service areas”, he added.
Sen. Garraway also alluded to a number of social workers who would be used at the centre and some other services to be provided to inmates.
He also referred to the process that will be followed through the court system to get young people into the rehab programme.
“The objective is, when they are sentenced from the court it should not be to Her Majesty’s Prison but to the centre, depending again on a number of factors. If based on the crime, the person needs to be housed at Her Majesty’s Prison, that will happen but the objective is for juvenile offenders to be assigned to the rehabilitation centre…so the law will have to be tailored to that,” he said.
According to the Junior government minister, the duration of rehabilitation for a person depends on the state of each individual.
“Let’s take for example, you’ve been sentenced to five years in prison and the sentence based on the law is definite. In terms of rehabilitation one may wanna ask if you wanna give them five years of rehabilitation – sometime you don’t need that, sometime only two months, maybe a year, two years…”, he said.
“…That’s why there are a number of psychologists on staff, a number of people who are trained in this field and they will be able to report and then say to the management what the individual needs,” he added.
Sen. Garraway disclosed that government will have to amend the law to allow for incarcerated young teenagers to be sent to the centre since the court would have sentenced them to Her Majesty’s Prison.
“…That’s the courts sentence, If you want to reassign them then you have to deal with the law to do that and to give the centre the ability to execute and to work with those young people,’ he told reporters
Sen. Garraway announced that a number of international organisations have given commitment to contribute to the maintenance of the facility.