The Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre is an institution designed to cater for the needs of boys between ages twelve (12) to eighteen (18) who have committed an offence. They are generally placed at the Centre after they have been made the subject of a Correctional Order by the Court (Children’s Court). The Correctional Process is guided by the Child Care and Protection Act.
The name Rio Cobre is derived from a river, which runs through the parish of St. Catherine.
Since the 1950’s Rio Cobre has been placed under different Ministries until it finally rested with the Department of Correctional Services in 1975. Rio Cobre was first housed at Monk Street in Spanish Town under the umbrella of the Ministry of Youth and Community Development. Existing at the same time was Tredegar Park Approved School, which was established for older boys. This too fell under the same Ministry and direct supervision was then with the Children’s Services Division.
In 1976 a new Centre was built on the grounds that housed the Tredegar Park Approved School. At the time the Authorities saw it fit to continue with the name Rio Cobre and Wards and some Personnel were transferred to the new Centre. The building that housed the former Centre was then converted to a Female Adult Correctional Centre.
The new Centre was built to accommodate one hundred and twenty (120) boys who were deemed to be in need of institutional care. The Centre was designed with modules on the philosophy whereby boys ate together in small groups under supervision of House Mothers and Duty Officers.
In a therapeutic and “parent secured” government, the Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre provides total care for the wards. Boys are allowed to attend classes and trade areas as well as engage in spiritual, social and recreational activities so as to foster a holistic growth. IT should be noted that extra-curricular activities and behaviour modification programmes are also incorporated in the curriculum.
The Behaviour Modification Programme involves:
- Anger Management
- Social Adjustment
- Building Relationships
- Conflict Resolution
- Self-Management (Building Self Esteem, Self Efficacy, Self Worth, Self Respect, Respect for Authority/Person)
Academic Training is provided for all wards. Those who are unable to read or write are offered Remedial Programmes while those who are more advanced, are allowed to sit external examinations such as:
- Secondary School Certificate (SSC)
- Caribbean Examination Council (CXC)
- Jamaica School Certificate (JSC)
Programmes offered are:
- Metal Craft
- Catering Services
- Auto Mechanics
- Computer Training
The Boys Scout programme is an integral feature of the social programmes. Wards enjoy different social clubs:
- 4H Club
- Science Club
- Maths Club
Wards are engaged in a chicken-broiler meat project and plans are in place to establish a Tissue Culture Project which is being sponsored by the Scientific Research Council.
Our main challenge is the problem of overcrowding in the institution.
Wards are provided with the necessary medical, dental and psychiatric care by the Department’s medical team and by external medical services.
Probation Aftercare Officers provide support through regular contacts with the parent(s) and or guardian(s) in the Community and the wards at the Institution.
Recreational Activities includes football, cricket, athletics and cultural activities. The wards are placed in Houses where competitions are organized. They compete in games of:
- Culinary Arts
- Quiz tournaments