Human Services statement on pregnant teenager in jail

Human Services statement on pregnant teenager in jail

Press Release: Castries, Saint Lucia. October 25, 2016: As an organization entrusted with advocating juvenile and human rights issues, the Division of Human Services within the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice & Empowerment sees it fit to address and clarify concerns recently levelled towards the department.

In particular, the organization Raise Your Voice, in their press release dated October 24, 2016 called upon our Ministry to provide a response on the disheartening chain of events leading to a juvenile female giving birth while incarcerated by the state.

It must be made clear the Juvenile in question is currently 17 years of age and not 16 years as was indicated.

In that context- according to the Laws of Saint Lucia- anyone who commits an offence and is 16 years and older, is liable for incarceration at the Bordelais Correctional Facility.

Also, the department must clarify that the juvenile in question was last housed at the New Beginnings Transit Home in 2013 and in that same year she was released into her mother’s care. The juvenile has not been re-admitted to the Transit Home since she returned to her mother’s care in 2013.

Two years after her release from our custody, the juvenile was charged with Intentionally Causing Harm, after an incident which took place in Castries at approximately 8am on March 16, 2015. The Juvenile was 16 years at the time of the incident and was placed on bail. She however did not appear in court on the date of the hearing and a bench warrant was prepared as it was alleged that the juvenile had fled the Island.

At the hearing, the victim indicated to the court that she would withdraw charges if the juvenile apologized but the defendant refused.

The Division of Human Services (although no longer responsible for the accused) was called in to collaborate with the Probation and Parole unit to remedy the situation with minimal punitive judgement. As a result of the intervention of the Social Worker at the Division, the juvenile was placed at the Women’s Support Shelter on April 14, 2016. She remained there for almost one (1) month, however her behavior was alarming to staff and residents and she was therefore removed from the Center.

As a last resort, the 17 year old was committed to the Bordelais Correctional Facility on May 6, 2016 on a charge of  INTENTIONALLY CAUSING HARM and is due to be released in the middle of November 2016.

It is unfortunate when we encounter scenarios like this, because as professionals we can only advocate, anticipate and facilitate. It is ultimately the power of individual choice that decides the path each person takes. Guidance and assistance cannot replace willpower and self-control.

The Department of Equity, Social Justice, Empowerment and Human Services and by extension, the Government of St Lucia, wishes to reiterate its commitment to the Care and Protection of all Children and Juveniles.

Any case, circumstance or action that compromises the well-being of our children is utterly disappointing and worthy of our effort. It is equally disappointing when individuals and organizations to cast aspersions- against those who provide support services to the island’s vulnerable population- on the basis of unfounded and erroneous statements and allegations.

The Department is also committed to working with any organization in the best interest of our children but such collaboration must be premised on mutual respect and an innate willingness to engage in an effort to ensure that informed decision making underpins our approach to addressing the challenges that confront our juveniles. In this regard, we remain available to provide clarification on matters of mutual interest.

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13 Comments

  1. Listen
    October 26, 2016 at 1:10 pm Reply

    Nice Press release. My fellow St. Lucians like to accuse before they hear both sides of the story.

    Well done. I hope they start listening more.

    1. Anonymous
      October 26, 2016 at 6:47 pm Reply

      I also hope that more research is done before making stateme

    2. Anonymous
      October 26, 2016 at 11:30 pm Reply

      Do you really think So. Read between the lines.

  2. VEE
    October 26, 2016 at 6:16 pm Reply

    Very nice. We refuse to work together with the interest of our country at heart. Instead we go around and spread rumors or find it fit to discredit organizations who do their best to assist.

  3. VEE
    October 26, 2016 at 6:17 pm Reply

    Very nice. We refuse to work together with the interest of our country at heart. Instead we go around and spread rumors or find it fit to discredit organizations who do their best to assist.

  4. Anonymous
    October 26, 2016 at 11:28 pm Reply

    There are many more sides to this story. That press release is not telling me anything except that the people at human services failed very badly in their duties and are looking to blame the young mother for their incompetence. This is one instance where a full investigation should be carried out , and some one held responsible.
    especially in this time when St. Lucia’s human rights record is under scrutinity…….very bad press….G.J

    1. TRUTH
      October 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm Reply

      Is it the Human Services who sent her to break the law and fight in Castries big broad daylight? Is it the Human Services fault that she refused to appear in Court? Is it the Human Services fault that she refuse to show some semblance of remorse and apologise? Is it the Human Services fault that she was placed in a home to protect she and the baby but refuse to behave herself so they had to kick her out and send her to Bordelais? Is it the Human Services fault that sent her to go and sleep around and get pregnant instead of finding a job? For heaven sake, she is an adult and she has to take responsibility for her actions.

      1. Anonymous
        October 27, 2016 at 7:40 pm Reply

        ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!

        It is the Human services Fault.

  5. Anonymous
    October 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm Reply

    ABSOLUTELY!, IT IS THE HUMAN SERVICES FAULT.

  6. Anonymous
    October 28, 2016 at 6:51 am Reply

    This idiotic statement from this so called St. Lucian voices is coming from a man who has been a complete failure throughout his life. This man was a member of law enforcement and migrated to Canada where again he failed to achieve success in his endeavors. Now he has joined the band wagon to criticize organizations which have to do with law enforcement and the judiciary. This man has no investigative skills and uses the media platforms to spew bull to persons of low intelligence. We know better. The department of justice etc did their best to assist this young person who refused to yield. This unfortunate situation can only be attributed to the young woman in question.

    1. Anonymous
      October 31, 2016 at 8:05 am Reply

      That’s right Jack.A Shoot the messanger,abd ignore the message. Problem solved EHN?

      1. Anonymous
        October 31, 2016 at 9:23 am Reply

        erratum…….AND IGNORE……..

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