Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | October 21, 2009
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Advocate probes children being locked up at adult centres
The Office of the Children's Advocate (OCA) will be investigating complaints that children are being held at police lock-ups.

According to Children's Advocate Mary Clarke, these complaints have come from members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and other citizens.

In a release yesterday, Clarke said the complaints have indicated that there was not enough room at the places of safety under the jurisdiction of the Child Development Agency (CDA).

Extended lock-ups

This has resulted in the police keeping the children at the lock-ups designated for adults for extended periods.

"The OCA has started to collect statements and will be examining the lock-ups where children are being held, as well as communicating further with the relevant authorities," she said.

Director of communications at the JCF, Karl Angell, told The Gleaner yesterday he had not previously heard about the complaints and had not been told about the OCA's concerns.

This is not the first time that there has been a complaint of children being sent to adult correctional facilities.

In May, child-rights lobbyist and attorney-at-law Margaret McCaulay highlighted situations in which children in need of care and protection were being kept at adult correctional facilities.

The CDA had denied the allegations at that time.

Clarke is calling for the Government to work speedily on the retrofitting and preparation of the Montpelier Remand and Correctional Centre in light of the most recent allegations.

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