Source: Jamaica Information Service
Over 20,000 at-risk youth have benefitted from the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).
The group is defined as young people who have factors in their lives or experienced events that lead them to engage in behaviours that are harmful to themselves and the society.
Photo: Contributed Member of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) Men with a Message advocacy group, Jermaine Austin, addresses young people who benefitted from a CSJP summer school workshop in 2015.
Communications, and Social Marketing Coordinator for CSJP, Patrice Nephew, tells JIS News that the programme is now focused on a more holistic approach in working with at-risk youth.
Mrs. Nephew notes that under CSJP Phase III, focus will be placed on Psycho-social education which will enable youngsters to understand themselves more and to be more adjusted and productive citizens.
“So they would not only be gaining a trade or skill but they will also have better social skills and understand themselves better,” she adds.
This, Mrs. Nephew says, is geared towards a case management approach where CSJP not only looks at an individual with one need, but the complementary needs of the individual and try to treat the total person.
St. Catherine which falls within the Central Region has recorded successes in communities such as Dela Vega City, March Pen, Gordon Pen, and New Nursery where a number of at-risk youth have been engaged, some as early as December 2015.
Despite the challenges associated with reaching them, several have been recruited and are being engaged in programmes with the assistance of CSJP’s Community Case Management Officers.
The participants have been exposed to several services including counselling in anger management and psycho-social education guided by CSJP’s internal Psychological Unit.
One participant from Gordon Pen, Sharnet Carr, tells JIS News that before she was engaged by CSJP, she had anger problems.
“I can say that today it has made me a better person. Nowadays persons when they say anything to make me angry I can simply walk away or just laugh. It just doesn’t make me feel any anger,” she shares following her engagement in the programme.
Another beneficiary Adrian Harriot from Gordon Pen participated in several workshops and received anger management treatment, as well as behaviour therapy. He cited CSJP’s Men with a Message as a source of encouragement and inspiration.
The advocacy group consists of former gang members and ex-convicts who have turned their lives around and are now delivering motivational messages in schools and other sectors.
“I really like that group. They inspired me and encouraged me,” Mr. Harriot says.
Some participants are also engaged in skills training at various HEART community-based institutions.
Mr. Harriot is currently pursuing Level 2 Auto-Mechanics at the Cornerstone Ministries’ Institution in Kingston, a programme he has grown to love and now has a passion for.
“CSJP is a good organization for a lot of people out there so (they) can help them a lot through things they want to overcome,” he says.
Most CSJP participants are high school dropouts and now see their involvement with the initiative as a second chance to redeem themselves.
The initiative is a multi-faceted crime and violence prevention programme of the Ministry of National Security, which focuses on building community safety and security.
CSJP executes this and similar interventions through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, United Kingdom Department for International Development and Global Affairs Canada.