By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE government yesterday launched its Citizen Security & Justice Programme, an Inter-American Development Bank funded initiative aimed at strategically increasing security and efficiency in the justice system.
The CSJP, a $20m loan project from the IDB, is aimed at the reduction of youth-related crime and violence in selected communities, improved job readiness for youth and young adults, and increase the judicial rate of case resolution.
The programme will also seek to modernise the country’s correctional services system in an attempt to reduce offender recidivism.
At a launch ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton yesterday, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage said the CSJP loan represents the “single, largest investment in a coordinated and comprehensive policy to address crime”.
“I’ve said this before, but I think it is important to reiterate it,” he said. “The investment goes beyond supplying new arms for police officers, or building more prison cells for incarceration.
“Instead, through social interventions for non-violent conflict resolution, youth employment training and strengthening of public employment services, continuing the successful work of the swift justice initiative and through a focus on the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders, we have employed a wide ranging, strategic approach to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
In January, Dr Nottage outlined how the Christie administration would use the $20m loan.
At the time, he said the initiative would use $4.8m to produce non-violent resolution programmes in the country. This includes training people to address societal norms that promote the acceptance of violence.
The programme will also use $4m to address unemployment among at-risk youths between the ages of 15 to 29. Specifically efforts will be made to develop the “soft skills” of at-risk youth by teaching them teamwork and how to accept responsibility while also providing 1,000 of them with remedial education.
Another 1,600 at-risk youth will be given “comprehensive demand-driven training for employment with special emphasis in the hospitality and retail sectors.”
He also said that $5.6m from the loan would be used to strengthen the justice system to ensure that people are prosecuted and sentenced in a timely manner. This will be done by, among other things, creating integrated electronic systems for case management, digital recording and scheduling.
Another $3.2m from the loan, Dr Nottage said, will be used to “improve the effectiveness of the Department of Correctional Services and Department of Rehabilitative Welfare Services to reduce offender recidivism.”
Dr Nottage has said that his ministry will be primarily responsible for using the loaned funds but will work in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social Services.