Tuesday 20 October, 2020

DCS launches electronic case management system for juveniles

State Minister for National Security, Rudyard Spencer, in discussion with senior staff members at the South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Centre in Kingston.

State Minister for National Security, Rudyard Spencer, in discussion with senior staff members at the South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Centre in Kingston.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS), in collaboration with the Organisation of American States (OAS), has launched the first phase of the Electronic Case Management System, which is to be implemented in juvenile correctional centres across the island.

The launch was held at the DCS’ corporate office in Kingston on Tuesday, June 25.

The case management system is designed to track the progress of the children from their arrival in the correctional centres, and their participation in rehabilitation programmes, to their re-entry into society. The system uses standardised forms and operational procedures to evaluate the children’s background, risk and protective factors.

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Rudyard Spencer said the launch of the electronic system has initiated the transformation of the DCS.

“I applaud the OAS, The Trust for Americas and the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) for taking the necessary steps that will improve DCS’ capacity to treat and rehabilitate offenders. Also, I commend 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.”

The case management system assigns a team of support workers to each child based on individual needs. Upon completion of the assessment, an individual development plan to address the vulnerabilities is created. The development plan is facilitated by the electronic system through what are said to be user-friendly tools that can provide calendar updates for court cases and classes, among other rehabilitation activities.

Representative of the OAS to Jamaica, Jeanelle Van Glaanenweygel said: "By Friday, June 28, the system should be operational in all facilities, and users should be able to continue using and testing it.”

Van Glaanenweygel added that the next phase of the system is to be finalised by September 2019, and includes the extension of the DCS’ Electronic Case Management System to the adult correctional centres, the courts and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

An important feature of the system is its ability to establish deadlines for all youngsters, by ensuring they complete rehabilitation programmes, counselling, assignments, and attend all specified appointments before reintegration. The system also minimises the duplication of case files, and allows for better supervision in the correctional centres.

The Electronic Case Management System was initiated out of a memorandum of understanding with the OAS through funding support from the USAID and the DCS for the programme ‘A New Path’.

The first phase of ‘A New Path’ was launched in 2015 at two juvenile correctional centres - Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Centre and the South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Centre. In 2017, it was extended to the Rio Cobre and Hilltop Juvenile Correctional Centres.

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