The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) in collaboration with Stand Up For Jamaica is providing psychosocial support through online tele- counselling to its staff, inmates and wards, as part of its COVID-19 response strategy.
The tele-counselling services will allow the DCS to continue offering psychosocial support and coping procedures to those at risk while mitigating the risk of exposure associated with face to face interactions.
The mental health of our inmates/remandees/wards and staff members is very important, especially during these challenging times. While COVID-19 continues to change the way we operate and interact with each other, the DCS will continue to provide its duty of care. The DCS has leveraged the technology available to us and has taken the initiative to expand our counselling sessions online to ensure that despite the changes and challenges associated with COVID-19, we continue to preserve the mental wellbeing of those within our care.
The services are being provided through dedicated telephone lines and via the online platform Zoom. The counselling team comprises: chaplains, psychiatrists, psychologists, probation aftercare officers and caseworkers from the DCS.
The counselling sessions will last for one hour and will be conducted in a secure location, to preserve the privacy rights of participants. All counselling sessions for inmates/remandees/wards will be conducted in accordance with the Departments of Correctional Services security guidelines and protocols.
Emergency tele-counselling services may be granted to an inmate/remandee/ward at the discretion of the superintendent in charge. Every inmate and ward has access to tele-counselling services, upon request. Staff members, in need of the services, can also make contact to schedule their appointments to speak to one of the psychiatrists or psychologists.
Since the inception of the tele-counselling services, over 70 sessions have been conducted.