Correctional Institutions to Begin Collecting DNA Samples as Evidence

Kingston, Jamaica (November 29, 2018) – Correctional Institutions are poised for a new movement of efficiency and accuracy as the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and local justice partners are training Jamaican Corrections Officers to collect DNA samples as evidence.

The training seeks create a robust DNA database of suspects and offenders that allow officials to match identities against crime scene samples, ultimately proving or disproving an individual’s involvement in crime. With the training, Department of Correctional Services (DCS) will have the capacity to capture DNA samples from over 3,500 inmates throughout all of its correctional institutions.

“We aim to see a new wave of efficiency within the Jamaican criminal justice system,” said Roberto Obando, Thematic Leader of Peace, Justice and Security at the Pan American Development Foundation. “Equipping Corrections Officers with new tools and skills will be an enabling factor for more efficient and accurate prosecutions.”

The last of two training seminars for Correctional Officers will take place on December 1-2, 2018 . Media is invited to attend the photo opportunity at Courtyard by Marriott, 1 Park Close, Kingston at 8:50 AM on December 1, 2018.

Acquisition of DNA is enabled by the DNA Evidence Act, enacted on February 17, 2016. It allows trained Detention Officers to take non-intimate samples (Buccal Mouth Swabs) for offences allegedly committed before, on or after the legislation’s commencement date. Resulting profiles are stored in pre-determined indices of the national DNA database. 

The training is part of the PRO-JAM program, funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (DOS/INL). PRO-JAM, implemented by PADF, is a two-year initiative that seeks to make Jamaica’s criminal justice system more efficient, fair, trustworthy and effective. 

PADF continues to invest in the area of Peace, Justice and Security. PADF partners with national and local partners (government and non-government) to strengthen institutions and mechanisms that prevent crime and abuses, respond to violence and illicit economies, and provide alternative social and economic opportunities to vulnerable populations. PADF is committed to promoting peaceful societies, providing access to justice for all, and strengthening law enforcement and justice institutions at all levels.

PADF’s Justice Partners in Jamaica:

  • Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), Department of State, US Embassy Kingston

  • Institute of Forensic Science & Legal Medicine, Jamaica

  • Jamaica Constabulary Force

  • Justice Training Institute, Kingston, Jamaica

  • Ministry of National Security, Kingston, Jamaica

  • National Integrity Action, Kingston, Jamaica

  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kingston, Jamaica

  • Organization of American States, Kingston, Jamaica

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The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) seeks to create a just, peaceful, and prosperous hemisphere where every person has the opportunity to thrive – by promoting human development, strengthening democracy and governance, advancing justice and security, and fostering resilience. Join us! www.padf.org