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OAS Secretary General Urges Giving Young Offenders a Path to Reintegration at Launch of Program in Jamaica

  November 20, 2014

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the importance of providing young offenders a path to reintegrate into their communities, in his address at the launch of the Project “A New Path: Promoting a Healthy Environment and Productive Alternatives for Juvenile Remandees and Offenders in Jamaica,” held in Kingston at the Ministry of National Security on Wednesday evening.

The Project, implemented by the OAS and the Trust of the Americas, with resources from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), seeks to help young remandees and offenders to return to wider society to play a productive role, either through returning to school or entering the workplace.

Secretary General Insulza noted that the problem facing young men and women being released from remand centers in Jamaica is twofold: “First, youth whose cases have entered the criminal justice system are often stigmatized by mainstream society and cannot find legitimate employment as a consequence; and second, they are reintegrating into a society whose youth unemployment rate is among the highest in the region.”

The new project addresses these challenges, said the OAS leader, by guiding and training young people during confinement; giving them vocational, educational, technical and entrepreneurship training; and working with local employers to ensure their support. “The OAS with its affiliate, The Trust for the Americas, firmly believes that promoting healthy emotional environments within the correctional facilities and improving the chances for economic independence after release will reduce crime and violence for youth,” said Secretary General Insulza, who thanked the U.S. government for its assistance to the project.

In his conclusion, the Secretary General emphasized that “the Organization’s involvement also highlights our desire to identify best practices and programs that can support youth offenders and their reintegration into the communities. We hope that these will offer lessons that the donor community and member states can apply throughout the Caribbean and the Hemisphere.“

Other participants in the ceremony included the Minister of National Security of Jamaica, Peter Bunting; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Arnold Nicholson; the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Kingston, Elizabeth Lee Martinez; and the Mission Director for USAID Jamaica, Denise Herbol.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-507/14