PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Psychiatric Association (JPA) Dr Earl Wright is appealing for the establishment of a forensic psychiatric facility to be at the forefront of the Government's agenda to avoid a recurrence of what took place with Noel Chambers, the elderly man who died at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in January after being incarcerated for 40 years without a trial on a murder charge.
Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang told Parliament on June 16 that in the case of Noel Chambers and others deemed unfit to plead, an ideal situation would be to commit that individual to a forensic psychiatric facility.
But there is no such facility in Jamaica and according to Dr Chang, the last of its kind was closed in 1975 and over 400 psychiatric inmates were sent into the penal system.
In addition, Dr Chang said the ideal long-term solution will be re-establishing the forensic psychiatric facility, and the national security ministry alongside the ministries of health and justice will collaborate to implement a plan of action for mentally ill inmates who are unfit to plead.
Dr Walcott also explained that a man murdering two people in his 20s is not the same person at 60 or 70 years old and instead suggested that the relationship between the judiciary and the mental health services be further strengthened, as is the case with drug offenders in the legislation governing the drug treatment court.