The Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme was developed out of an assessment of the Jamaican Justice System dating back to 2006. That assessment, conducted by the Canadian Department of Justice (DOJ) was completed in April 2006 and led to a preliminary list of different measures that could be taken in support of Justice Reform in Jamaica. Those measures were the subject of a major consultation in Kingston in February 2007, and were later approved by Cabinet and became the nucleus of what would emerge as the JUST Programme.
During the planning stages of the Programme,, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) continued to provide support to the Government of Jamaica ( GOJ) through partial funding of a number of projects, including the Jamaica Justice System Reform Task Force (whose Report was done in 2007) and the Pre-Inception Phase of the JUST Programme, in which studies on the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (OCPC) were commissioned as a means of assisting the GOJ to identify the institutional barriers to reform. CIDA also funded the development of the Jamaica Justice Reform Policy Agenda Framework (”the Darby Report”) completed in January 2009, and which sets out a five-year costed strategy for implementing justice reform. All of this support has assisted the GOJ in preparing for the development and implementation of the JUST programme.
In April 2009, the GOJ through the then Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding and the Government of Canada through Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding which set the stage for the full implementation of the JUST Programme.
The Programme has seen many setbacks since the signing of that MOU and in fact was eventually revised and restructured to broaden its implementation base and to make it relevant to the current needs and priorities of the many stakeholders.