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Jamaica and Chile advance talks on treatment of youth offenders

Published:Sunday | March 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson

Chile and Jamaica are taking steps to deepen the exchange of best practices to help deal with youth offenders in what could partly be viewed as a response to the concerns raised by local rights groups about the treatment of offenders, especially juveniles.

"Our cooperation has developed under the umbrella of a triangular cooperation with support from the Organisation of American States and also the United States Agency for International Development," said Edgardo Riveros, the undersecretary for foreign affairs in Chile, during a visit here last week.

He said that Jamaican authorities are collaborating with Chile's National Service for Minors to enhance the skills of technical personnel in the local corrections centres.

He said that other key areas of the bilateral cooperation involve "the transfer of technical knowledge on agriculture and food security, disaster management, and the strengthening and modernisation of institutions".




Pearnel Charles Jr, minister of state in the national security ministry, said Riveros' visit followed one he made with a delegation last year.

"We engaged discussions to see how we could continue to strengthen our partnership by means of continuing our exchange programmes and training programmes," he said.

According to Charles, the talks are "with a view to focusing on technical assistance that can evaluate our jurisdictions and identify those areas where we have been deficient or failed, so we don't repeat errors and, more important, to identify best practices".

The state minister pointed out that Chile's correctional services have many different options for youth offenders.

"Their youth offenders can have access to alternative means of being sentenced. Some of their facilities allow the offenders to come in during the day and go back home. Some of the facilities have different types of learning techniques which are modern," he added, noting that some of the practices have been adopted in the Jamaican system.