Jamaica News: Human advocacy groups and individuals have teamed up in making a request for the Government grant the immediate release of at-risk groups in police lock-ups as well as in remand and correctional centres.
The appeal came from Stand up for Jamaica, Horace Levy, Alexis Goffe, Rachel Goffe, Demoya Gordon, civil rights attorney in New York, Nancy Anderson and Jo Becker, children rights advocate in an email dated March 21 to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the Ministers of Health, Security and Justice along with the Chief Justice, the commissioners of police and corrections and the director of public prosecution.
What sparked the requestion were the advocates’ deep concern re the conditions of the detention facilities in Jamaica, which they dubbed as deplorable, and the safety of the detainees.
They are expressing that since the pandemic has reached Jamaica, if it should enter the detention centres it could be imminently life-threatening mixed with the current conditions. “… To not take drastic and bold steps to protect the children and adults detained puts both those who are incarcerated, those who work in the detention centres and the public at risk.”
The advocates are expressing that reducing the number of people in detention is regarded as one of the most crucial steps to take.
Here are the detainees who they want released:
1)Anyone that fits the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ criteria for at risk groups
Persons 60 years and older
Persons with a weakened immune system
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
Persons with chronic illnesses including heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease and diabetes
2) Children detained in lock-ups, remand centres and correctional centres for being deemed uncontrollable.
3) Anyone being on remand for inability to pay cash bail, incarcerated with a release date in 2020 and incarcerated for failure to pay fines.
In addition, the advocates called for the release of plans and measures being taken in response to COVID-19 to ensure the safety and protection of those remaining in the facilities and its staff.
News Reporter: Marc Lodge