National Security Ministry Focused on Transformation of Youth Offenders

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Jamaica News: The Ministry of National Security is focused on the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of young offenders through the We Transform youth empowerment programme.

The initiative, implemented in 2017, is targeted at children, ages 12 to 17 years, who are under the care and supervision of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), equipping them with the requisite training and character-building skills and support to become productive citizens.

Among the objectives are to contribute to the reduction in youth offending/reoffending and, by extension, crime and violence; build self-esteem, sense of purpose, and hope as well as promote good values and attitudes; empower the target groups to become agents of change/exemplary citizens; create public awareness and engender multisectoral participation and support in the rehabilitation and transformation processes; and strengthen the institutional capacity of the DCS to effectively deliver rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.

Case Management Officer in the Ministry’s At-Risk-Youth Offender Management Branch, Steffani King-Halstead, said that the DCS works with key partners and mentors to “facilitate a programme of offerings that enables the successful reintegration of youth after leaving State care”.

These include the HEART/Trust NTA, the HOPE Programme, the Multi-Care Youth Foundation, private sector organisations, among others.

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Mrs. King-Halstead, who was speaking at a training session for We Transform mentors at the Ministry’s head office in Kingston on July 19, noted that the beneficiaries are engaged in academic and vocational skills training, agriculture, sports, home economics, visual and performing arts, among other things.

“This ensures that (they) are engaged in a comprehensive educational and life skills programme, and where possible, beneficiaries are provided with internship and temporary employment opportunities,” she added.

In addition to children in the island’s four juvenile centres, We Transform also caters to youth who are under the supervision of Probation Aftercare Officers.

Mrs. King-Halstead said that programme will be expanded to include at-risk young people who are residing within the Ministry’s 21 priority communities spanning various parishes across the island.

 

Source: JIS News

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