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The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), organized the closing ceremony of the Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP ) on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, as a hybrid live and virtual event.
Representatives of the OECS and USAID participated in the closing ceremony at the Harbor Club in Saint Lucia, while government officials and stakeholders from the six participating JJRP Member States, namely Antigua and Barbuda , the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada participated from their respective sites in the country.
The ceremony was also broadcast live via Facebook and YouTube.
The Juvenile Justice Reform Project supported the diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration of child offenders and was implemented from 2011 to 2022 in two phases. The goal of the JJRP was to divert, rehabilitate and reintegrate children in conflict with the law, giving them a second chance for a stable and secure life.
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The second phase of the JJRP began in 2017 and ended on June 30, 2022. During this phase, more than 570 children in conflict with the law were diverted from court and rehabilitated, while more than 1,400 service providers were trained in the OECS to divert and rehabilitate children.
During the duration of the juvenile justice reform project, juvenile justice rehabilitation centers were established, existing centers were upgraded and juvenile justice legislation was adopted in five countries.
The Grand Bacolet Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Grenada, New Horizons in St. Kitts and Yes to Success in Nevis are examples of new facilities created during the life of the JJRP.
Relevant infrastructure and programs have also been successfully implemented to support the reintegration of children in conflict with the law. In this way, children between the ages of 12 and 17 who committed eligible crimes were diverted from the adult justice system.
The JJRP and its stakeholders, which include the child protection system, justice system, education systems, civil society, private sector and collaborating development partners, have worked tirelessly to give children in conflict with the law the training, support, and tools to become well-rounded, productive citizens who contribute meaningfully to society.
The ceremony was a celebration to highlight the successes of the program.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, His Excellency Dr. Didacus Jules, OECS Director General noted:
“We’ve come a long way, but we’ve learned lessons along the way. There are still gaps, so we look forward to continuing to partner with USAID in the area of child and adolescent justice. Care must be taken further upstream to identify those who need to be diverted before they come into conflict with the law”.
FURTHERMORE, MR. CLINTON WHITE, USAID/ESC REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE SAID:
“TO OUR YOUNG BENEFICIARIES AND PARTNERS, YOUR IDEAS, VOICES, AND TALENTS MATTER AND USAID WILL WORK WITH OUR PARTNERS TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE MEANINGFULLY INVOLVED IN DETERMINING HOW CHANGES ARE BROUGHT AND THAT PROGRAMS ARE DESIGNED TO RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGES FACE YOU AND SUPPORT YOUR JOURNEYS TOWARDS SUCCESS AND BECOME RESPONSIBLE ADULTS.
Source: Organization of Eastern Caribbean States
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