Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite said that changes were coming to the Government Industrial School (GIS) to allow for greater consideration to the individual needs of young women in detention there.
Reporting to the Democratic Labour Party conference at the weekend on the work done by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Brathwaite said new legislation would be introduced to reduce the detention time and to provide a halfway home for those who complete their stay, but were not ready to return home.
The school houses and seeks to rehabilitate girls under 16 years old who are sent there by the law courts.
The minister conceded during Saturday’s event at the Queen’s College auditorium that “all is not perfect at the Girls Industrial School. There are some issues there that I need to address”.
“We’re going to change the legislation because right now you have a situation where you have a minimum of a mandatory three-year sentence that these young people are subjected to, regardless of the offence that they’ve committed. That is not an ideal situation,” Brathwaite told party supporters.
He reported that he had requested help from Minister of Housing Denis Kellman to “assist me with developing a type of a half-way facility so that we can transition some of these young people”.
The Attorney General explained that some of the released youngsters were “not quite ready to go home”, and a halfway house would ensure Government did not “have to send them back to the same environment they were running away from to begin with”.
He added that such a facility “would enable us to spend a bit more time with them and work with them so that when they have to go back home that they are better able to look after themselves”.