Department of Correctional Services
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) in Jamaica is a department under the Ministry of National Security. The Commissioner of Corrections, Mrs. Ina Fairweather Hunter facilitates the correctional programmes on behalf of the Government of Jamaica and reports to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security.
Before Jamaica became independent, the Prisons, the Probation Services and the Approved Schools functioned separately. This led to an inefficient system with inconsistencies and duplication. The three bodies were then joined to form the DCS in 1975 as an agency of the Ministry of National Security. The merger created new directions and opportunities for the DCS to provide rehabilitation and care.
The mission of the DCS is to “contribute to the safety and protection of our society by keeping offenders secure and facilitating their rehabilitation and reintegration as law-abiding citizens while developing a professional and committed staff”.
The DCS is informed by a correctional process, which provides a relevant, structured, therapeutic environment to facilitate the empowerment and rehabilitation of those being cared for by the state.
The Department of Correctional Services is comprised of seven (7) Adult Correctional Centres, one (1) Adult Remand Centre, four (4) Juvenile Centres, and seventeen (17) Community Service Offices (Probation Offices) located island wide all under the directorship of the Department's chief executive officer, the Commissioner of Corrections.
The Department has three (3) core functional areas:
- Custodial Services (Adults and Juveniles)
To oversee the probation, parole and hostel services operating in the community and to provide the necessary reports that will assist the Courts to make informed decisions in selected cases
To provide rehabilitation programmes for inmates, offenders and wards including educational programmes, individual group counselling, spiritual/religious instruction and other treatment programmes
- Human Resource Management and Community Service
To develop, implement and evaluate procedures to ensure fiscal responsibility.
Correctional Services Production Company (COSPROD)
The Correctional Services Production Company liaises with the Department of Correctional Services to provide rehabilitative programmes and activities for offenders while enhancing their productive capacities in areas such as skilled work and agriculture. The company was formed in 1994, as the main vehicle for rehabilitation in the island’s male adult correctional centres. COSPROD operates at the Tamarind Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St. Catherine, the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in Kingston and the Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St. Mary.
The objectives of COSPROD are:
- To provide opportunities for inmates of these institutions to receive skills training
- To channel inmates’ energy into organised labour, enabling them to be productive while providing food for the institutions and making the correctional service self sufficient
- To enable inmates to utilize their skills to become productive citizens when released.