(Left to right) Programme Director of the CSJP, Simeon Robinson; Commissioner of Corrections, Ina Hunter Fairweather and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Major Gen. Stewart Saunders at the signing of the MOU.
The Ministry of National Security (MNS) has increased its focus on preventing crime and violence through the targeting of youths most at risk of becoming involved. This was further enhanced with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding among the Ministry, the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to support the reintegration of youth offenders leaving the correctional services.
Speaking at the signing held at the Ministry of National Security's head office on March 3, 2016, Permanent Secretary, Major General Stewart Saunders said "the Ministry is pleased to be involved in this intervention as, for far too long, we have left a certain category of our youth out of any particular developmental plans," adding that “this intervention represents the ways and means of turning that around and getting incarcerated persons to become participatory citizens who contribute more positively to the upliftment of our society."
The MOU will be ongoing, and will allow for an established framework to enable the smooth and more effective transition of youth offenders leaving correctional facilities and reintegrating them into the community. It also allows for the provision of counselling, education and training to facilitate placement in the labour market. Programme Manager for the CSJP, Simeon Robinson, in expressing his support for the programme, said "the MOU fits perfectly with the mandate of the CSJP to assist in the reduction and prevention of crime".
Commissioner of Corrections, Ina Hunter Fairweather, who signed on behalf of the DCS, emphasised that the MOU is "prudent, timely and strategic as a part of the National Crime Prevention Strategy of the Ministry," pointing out that it will improve access to assessment, training and support to the vulnerable population of youth aged 15 to 25 years.