An electronic case management system is to be fully installed and operational in all juvenile correctional facilities by September 2019.
The system is being implemented by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) in partnership with the Organization of American States (OAS), Trust for Americas, with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
It is intended to provide key stakeholders with comprehensive information about remandees at juvenile facilities in order to create individualised rehabilitation programmes to ensure their successful reintegration into society.
The system will also ensure more effective management of facilities and supervision of the work of staff, and provide standardised data for reports.
The first phase of the system is being deployed in the island’s four juvenile correctional facilities this week. These are: South Camp and Metcalfe Street in Kingston; Rio Cobre, St. Catherine; and Hill Top, St. Ann.
Different groups of users at the facilities as well as information technology staff of the DCS are being trained so that they can maintain and continue upgrading the system in the future. Servers and computers are also being installed.
Speaking at the official launch on Tuesday (June 25) at the DCS Training Centre in Kingston, State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, said that the system, which is based on a Brazilian model, was developed after careful analysis of the offender management process and “we concluded that we have to improve our capacity.”
“As a result, a trip was organised for Brazil where we observed a commendable system that could be adapted and amended to suit Jamaica’s correctional facilities, with minor adjustments,” he noted.
The State Minister said that the web-based platform will address gaps in monitoring and treating with offenders in State care.
“It will ensure that the child’s movement is tracked from admission to their involvement in the rehabilitation process and continues to their release,” he added.
The State Minister commended the various partners and hailed the juvenile custodial staff, the probations services and representatives from the Ministry for their part in the planning, vetting and consultation stages “to finally bring us to the official launch of this electronic case management system.”
OAS Country Representative in Jamaica, Jeanelle Van Glaanenweygel, for her part, explained that the case management approach will guide the reintegration of the youth from their arrival at the correctional facility to their return to the community.
She noted that as part of the process, a team of workers is created around the child, who examines his/her, background, risk and protective factors, and puts together an individual development plan to address the identified vulnerabilities.
She said that the system also allows for better supervision of the centres and the work of staff by providing immediate alerts to managers and on time reports that can be used to analyse the effectiveness of the programmes and practices inside the facilities.
“With the use of automatic forms, online desk tables and alerts, the system ensures compliance with the process and it establishes deadlines and minimises the duplication of work at the facilities,” the OAS Representative added.
In January 2019, the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of National Security, signed an agreement with the OAS and the Court System of Paraná (Brazil) to allow for adaptation and implementation of the electronic system implemented by the courts in the southern Brazilian state.
Since March 2018, the DCS has been using a paper-based version of the proposed system developed through several consultations with stakeholders and partners.