In collaboration with the Independent Jamaican Council of Human Rights (1998) Ltd (IJCHR), we assisted James Robottom, a barrister from 7 Bedford Row Chambers, to visit Jamaica and conduct ground research on current conditions of detention in Jamaica’s prisons. This Observation Report presents the findings from this visit, providing an insightful account of the conditions of detention in Jamaica. An overview of the issues is also provided by Tim Owen QC and Alison Macdonald, prison law experts from Matrix Chambers.
The report was launched on 1 December 2011 in Kingston, Jamaica. In his opening address, Dr. Lloyd Barnett, O.J., Chairman of the IJCHR urged policy makers to consider the need for urgent penal reform in light of contemporary human rights standards. The conditions described in Jamaica clearly fall below international minimum standards.
The launch coincided with the 2nd Regional Conference on Best Practices of Prison Management in the Caribbean, hosted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. A session at this conference was devoted to analyse the findings of the Report, and a panel of experts including the Commissioner of Corrections, Lieutenant Colonel Sean Prendergast, Professor Andrew Coyle and Tim Owen QC discussed the findings and the need for penal reform.
We hope this report and the debate it has generated will lead to reform and improvement in this area.