Survey of Individuals Deprived of Liberty: Caribbean 2016-2019: Jamaica Country Report

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Centre for Leadership and Governance
Oct 2020
King, Dana Michael; Vélez-Grajales, Viviana; Marmolejo, Lina
This report presents the findings of the inmate survey, Jamaica, which was conducted from August to September 2018. A total of 724 inmates from the seven adult prisons in Jamaica were surveyed. The questionnaire used in the research was developed by the IDB and explored inmates experiences before incarceration, as they were processed through the criminal justice system, while they served their sentences, and as they contemplated life after being released. The average age of the participants was 34.6 years and most had attained at least some secondary or higher education. The average period of time between arrest and sentencing was two years and four months. Almost half of the inmates did not understand the adjudication process and were not informed of their right to legal representation. We recommend that the Government of Jamaica sustain its efforts to put systems in place within the court system to speed up the trial process and improve its performance. The majority of the inmates were living in unsafe environments and overcrowd-ed conditions and were dissatisfied with toilet facilities and the food and water they had access to. We recommend that the government and prison administrators implement strategies that contribute to long-term change in overcrowding levels.