OCA Deeply Concerned and Saddened About Suicide of Female Ward of the State: Children’s Advocate Reiterates Calls for a Remand Facility for Girls

Kingston, Jamaica, November 22, 2012 --(PR.com)-- The Office of The Children’s Advocate is deeply concerned about reports of a female ward of the State who was being housed at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre in St. Andrew, committing suicide yesterday, November 21, 2012. Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon-Harrison, noted that such a situation is of grave concern to the Office, as all children in State facilities must be secure from all forms of danger, whether such threats are from external forces or committed upon the wards by themselves. “It is truly a sad occurrence and we use this medium to publicly extend our condolensces to her family and close friends. We are accutely aware as well of the effect that this incident must have on the other children in the facility and we will be intervening in this regard," Mrs. Gordon-Harrison said.

Mrs. Gordon-Harrison also noted that last night’s incident has served to highlight the need for a separate remand facility for girls, which is appropriately and adequately staffed with resource personnel. “For such an incident to happen during the same week in which Jamaica joined forces with our international partners in recognition of Universal Children’s Day, serves as a timely reminder of how much more work we have to do as a nation. The OCA recognises that resource constraints exist, but we maintain that the authorities must continue to view this need as a priority. The psycho-social rehabilitation of our children who find themselves in conflict with the law must be adequately addressed by catering to their needs through multi-faceted approaches.

“The OCA has already made contact with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), and we have advised that our Office will also be launching its own investigation into the matter, as under the Child Care and Protection Act (2004), we are duty bound to conduct our own probe.”

For further information contact:
Nicole Hayles
Manager, Public Education and Special Projects
Telephone: (876) 948-1293 / 948-3771 ext. 116
Office of The Children's Advocate
Nicole Hayles (Manager, Public Education & Special Projects)
(876) 948-1293