Juvenile facilities get technology boost through UNICEF donation

January 21, 2021
Minister without Portfolio, Ministry of National Security, Senator Matthew Samuda (second left), looks at the assortment of technological items donated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to benefit children in juvenile facilities. Others (from left) are: Country Representative, UNICEF Jamaica, Mariko Kagoshima; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Courtney Williams; and Commissioner of Corrections, Lieutenant Colonel (retired), Gary Rowe.

The Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) Juvenile Services Unit, has been gifted with technological equipment valued at approximately $1.9 million, that will enable wards to continue to access critical services virtually.

The generous donation was made possible through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Jamaica, under the Ministry of National Security's 'We Transform' youth empowerment and reintegration programme.

The items provided include four laptops, five tablets, six desktop computers, six Wi-Fi modems, 36 USB headsets and 35 webcams.

Minister without Portfolio, Senator Matthew Samuda, thanked UNICEF for the support.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices in Kingston on Wednesday, Mr. Samuda said that the donation will increase the technological resources available within juvenile facilities.

“(We) endeavor to make sure that none of the approximately 500 children in our care are left behind, but are given every opportunity to succeed and your contribution will, in fact, go a far way in helping them secure their successes,” he said.

Country Representative, UNICEF Jamaica, Mariko Kagoshima, in her remarks, said that the devices will assist the wards in remaining connected during this period of social distancing.

“We thought it important to extend the partnership to help keep them connected with their families, their education and important child justice and psychosocial services,” she said.

“The partnership reminds us that with the right support and opportunity, they can overcome these very challenging circumstances,” she added.

The donation by UNICEF is expected to provide support for critical areas.

These include: provision of regular virtual communication between the wards and their families and mentors; virtual implementation of psychological/psychiatric interventions; virtual implementation of mentorship sessions; virtual court attendance for the children with matters before the Court; as well as academic and life/employability training using virtual platforms.

A monitoring committee has been established to manage and monitor the use of the technological equipment to ensure their efficient and appropriate use.

Implemented in 2016, the ‘We Transform’ programme is the Ministry’s flagship youth transformation initiative.

It aims to provide children ages 12 to 17 years, within the care and supervision of the DCS, with the requisite support to become productive citizens.

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