Child Rights - Jamaican Government Plan to Retrofit Police Stations to House Children: Unnecessary Expenditure - 2013
Renovating Police Lock-Ups: Unnecessary ExpenditureRecently, the Minster of Youth and Culture,Lisa Hanna formally announced plans to allocate $75 millionto the retrofitting and renovation of 5 police lock-ups across the island to allow them to betteraccommodate children. This was one of the recommendations made by the Inter-Ministerial WorkingGroup which had been assembled by the Minister last September, and is part of a plan which will extendto all 14 parishes over time, at a cost that is not yet known.Reports from The Gleaner published on June 5, 2013 publicly detail specific plans to upgrade threefacilities: Moneague in St. Ann, Nain in St. Elizabeth and Bridgeport in St. Catherine. This grouprepresents the majority of the initial five police stations to be renovated, and presumably will require asubstantial portion of the funding allotted.Jamaicans for Justice’s Child Rights Working Group (CRWG) and the network of NGOs with which itcollaborateshave serious concerns about the proposal. The CRWG questions whether the plan to expandpolice lock-ups for children is in the best interests of the children, is in line with known best practice or isthe most efficient expenditure of $75 million dollars, at a time when it is more important than ever to getthe most impactful results from the money available for the improvement of the lives of children in thecustody of the State.The 75 million dollar expenditure proposed by the Inter Ministerial working group for the retrofitting ofpolice lockups could, we contend, be far better spent elsewhere. It could be used to renovate an existingfacility as the first regional remand centre for girls, so that they could be housed in something other thana prison. It could, for example, build an adolescent psychiatric ward at UWI to care for those mostchallenged and at risk (a plan exists for this and it would only require $40 million), as well as employmore than half dozen Psychologists and psychiatrists to care for them. Or it could provide foster care formore than 1000 children at risk and support the provision of counseling support for those who need it.In this time of financial constraint, it is imperative that all Ministries and Agencies spend their fundswisely.Another of the CRWG’s concerns about the proposal is that the data available to us does not support theexpansion of holding capacity for children at police lock-ups. According to the Gleaner stories,MoneaguePolice Station is slated to receive an additional 15 cells to hold 3 persons each – a capacity of45 persons, and the Bridgeport facility will more than double its current holding capacity of 12.The CRWG reviewed the 2012 weekly figures for children held at the Moneague, Nain and Bridgeportpolice stations, as given by theJCF Detention and Courts Division in documents they send to the CDAevery Friday.Of the 3 stations, Moneague typically reported the highest number of children; the highestfigure for the year was for one week in April 2012, when 14 children were reported for that station, farfewer than the 45 new spaces reportedly being created. . However, for most weeks during 2012, fewerthan 10 children were reportedly held at that station. The highest number of children reported at theNain station in 2012 was 8 and there were many weeks in which no children were reportedly being heldat that station. The highest number of children reported at the Brigdeportlock up was 8, but numbers of0, 1 and 2 were far more typical. These reports are based on the figures at the police stations on a Friday,and we call on the Ministers to provide the public with the data of children in custody throughout theweek, if that data shows a significantly different picture.
These three facilities seem capable of handling the numbers of children currently being taken intocustody, and the CRWG maintains that an analysis of the offences for which children are being housed atpolice stations indicates that many of these children ought not to be kept there at all. Renovationsdesigned towards increasing capacityappear to be an unnecessary expenditure of resources and wouldseem to speak to an entrenched culture of punitive rather than rehabilitative approaches in the childcaresystem.We are calling on the Minister of Youth and Culture and the Minister of National Security to make publicthe data on which the decision for this expenditure was made, and which would justify the spending of$75 million on lock-ups for children at 5 police stations.Answers to these questions would help to clarifytheir thinking: What data is this proposal based on? How many children are rightly being kept in police lockupsand remand facilities? What is the operational budget for operating these stations with children?The way to begin solving the issue of children on remand and in police lock-ups is not to equip them toaccept even more of them, but rather to rehabilitate the children currently on remand whilesimultaneously ensuring that children who are taken into custody are physically removed within 24hours. These two issues are among the most urgent, and should occupy a central position in the initialsteps for the state’s planned reforms.We do encourage the Ministry to ensure that children who are taken into a police station are keptseparate from adult detainees and are housed in humane conditions. We believe, however, that this canbe achieved with far less expenditure and that the available resources should be put towards theprovision of other programmes and spaces which ensure that the fewest number of children spend theleast amount of time in a police lock up and that all children in need get the services and support to whichthey are entitled.
Supplementary DataThe weekly numbers that follow strongly suggest that an expansion of these facilities to accommodatemore children is at this point, an unnecessary measure. Though no specific details have been released tothe CRWG and its affiliates regarding the slated expansion of the Nain facility, it seems clear that theMoneague and Bridgeport facilities should be functional under their current capacity.05101520253035404550Moneague: Average Number of Children Held051015202530Bridgeport: Average Number of Children Held
Even when one extracts the single highest weekly intake for each of the stations, their totals aresignificantly lower than their intended maximum capacity.* Note: Graphical representation of the Nain facility has been excluded due to lack of comparativequantitative data on State plans for upgrades.05101520253035404550Moneague BridgeportMoneague & Bridgeport: Peak Actual Intakevs. Planned Maximum CapacityPeak IntakeSlated Upgraded Capacity
Children in Police Lock-Ups:Figures extracted from Weekly CDA Reports on Children in Police Custody for the Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Facilities.◄ Dec 2011 January 2012 Feb 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2 3 4 5 6Moneague: 2Nain: 5Bridgeport: 378 9 10 11 12 13Moneague: 7Nain: 1Bridgeport: 61415 16 17 18 19 20Moneague: 3Nain: 4Bridgeport: 12122 23 24 25 26 27Moneague: 3Nain: 2Bridgeport: 02829 30 31Monthly Averages:Moneague: 3.75 children per weekNain: 3 children per weekBridgeport: 2.5 children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Jan 2012 February 2012 Mar 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2 3Moneague: 2Nain: 3Bridgeport: 145 6 7 8 9 10Moneague: 4Nain: 4Bridgeport: 31112 13 14 15 16 17Moneague: 4Nain: 4Bridgeport: 31819 20 21 22 23 24Moneague: 4Nain: 6Bridgeport: 42526 27 28 29Monthly Averages:Moneague: 4.5 children per weekNain: 4.25 children per weekBridgeport:2.75 children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Feb 2012 March 2012 Apr 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2Moneague: 1Nain: 5Bridgeport: 234 5 6 7 8 9Moneague: 4Nain: 3Bridgeport: 21011 12 13 14 15 16Moneague: 8Nain: 5Bridgeport: 31718 19 20 21 22 23Moneague: 3Nain: 0Bridgeport: 32425 26 27 28 29Moneague: 6Nain: 2Bridgeport: 130 31Monthly Averages:Moneague: 4.4 children per weekNain: 3 children per weekBridgeport: 1.8 children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Mar 2012 April 2012 May 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2 3 4 5 6Moneague: 3Nain: 0Bridgeport: 278 9 10 11 12 13Moneague: 9Nain: 2Bridgeport: 01415 16 17 18 19 20Moneague: 14Nain: 3Bridgeport: 32122 23 24 25 26 27Moneague: 7Nain: 1Bridgeport: 32829 30Monthly Averages:Moneague: 8.25 children per weekNain: 1.5 children per weekBridgeport: 2 children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Apr 2012 May 2012 Jun 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2 3 4Moneague: 10Nain: 1Bridgeport: 256 7 8 9 10 11Moneague: 12Nain: 1Bridgeport: 61213 14 15 16 17 18Moneague: 5Nain: 2Bridgeport: 11920 21 22 23 24 25Moneague: 6Nain: 1Bridgeport: 52627 28 29 30 31Monthly Averages:Moneague: 8.25 children per weekNain: 1.25 children per weekBridgeport: 3.5 children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ May 2012 June 2012 Jul 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1Moneague: 7Nain: 0Bridgeport: 323 4 5 6 7 8Moneague: 13Nain: 0Bridgeport:4910 11 12 13 14 15Moneague: 10Nain: 5Bridgeport: 31617 18 19 20 21 22Moneague: 4Nain: 2Bridgeport: 12324 25 26 27 28 29Moneague: 11Nain: 4Bridgeport: 330Monthly Averages:Moneague: 11.25 children per weekNain: 2.75 children per weekBridgeport: 3.5children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Jun 2012 July 2012 Aug 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2 3 4 5 6Moneague: 10Nain: 7Bridgeport: 578 9 10 11 12 13Moneague: 8Nain: 8Bridgeport: 81415 16 17 18 19 20Moneague: 8Nain: 6Bridgeport: 12122 23 24 25 26 27Moneague: 7Nain: 3Bridgeport: 02829 30 31Monthly Averages:Moneague: 8.25 children per weekNain: 6 children per weekBridgeport: 3.5 children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Jul 2012 August 2012 Sep 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2 3Moneague: 7Nain: 1Bridgeport:045 6 7 8 9 10Moneague: 12Nain: 1Bridgeport: 11112 13 14 15 16 17Moneague: 2Nain: 2Bridgeport: 01819 20 21 22 23 24[no dataprovided]2526 27 28 29 30 31Moneague: 0Nain: 0Bridgeport: 0Monthly Averages:Moneague: 4.2 children per weekNain: 0.8 children per weekBridgeport: 0.25 children per weekBased on incomplete data.
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Aug 2012 September 2012 Oct 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat12 3 4 5 6 7Moneague: 7Nain: 0Bridgeport: 089 10 11 12 13 14Moneague: 1Nain: 0Bridgeport: 01516 17 18 19 20 21Moneague: 1Nain: 0Bridgeport: 02223 24 25 26 27 28Moneague: 2Nain: 0Bridgeport: 02930Monthly Averages:Moneague: 2.75 children per weekNain: 0 children per weekBridgeport: 0 children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Sep 2012 October 2012 Nov 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2 3 4 5[no dataprovided[67 8 9 10 11 12Moneague: 5Nain: 2Bridgeport: 21314 15 16 17 18 19Moneague: 1Nain: 0Bridgeport: 12021 22 23 24 25 26Moneague: 0Nain: 3Bridgeport: 02728 29 30 31Monthly Averages:Moneague: 1.5 children per weekNain: 1.25 children per weekBridgeport: 0.75 children per weekBased on incomplete data.
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Oct 2012 November 2012 Dec 2012 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2Moneague: 2Nain: 0Bridgeport:134 5 6 7 8 9Moneague:4Nain: 0Bridgeport:11011 12 13 14 15 16Moneague: 2Nain: 0Bridgeport: 11718 19 20 21 22 23Moneague: 2Nain: 2Bridgeport: 12425 26 27 28 29 30Moneague: 3Nain: 1Bridgeport: 0Monthly Averages:Moneague: 2.6 children per weekNain: 0.6 children per weekBridgeport: 0.8 children per week
Weekly Report to the CDA: Children in Custody at Moneague, Nain and Bridgeport Police Stations◄ Nov 2012 December 2012 Jan 2013 ►Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat12 3 4 5 6 7Moneague: 1Nain: 2Bridgeport: 089 10 11 12 13 14Moneague: 2Nain: 0Bridgeport: 01516 17 18 19 20 21Moneague: 0Nain: 0Bridgeport: 12223 24 25 26 27 28Moneague: 2Nain: 0Bridgeport: 02930 31Monthly Averages:Moneague: 1.25 children per weekNain: 0.5 children per weekBridgeport: 0.25 children per week