Torture in  [Jamaica]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Jamaica]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Jamaica]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Jamaica]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                


The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for more than 60% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina.

The economy faces serious long-term problems: a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of almost 130%.

High unemployment exacerbates the serious crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Jamaica

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Jamaica.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 26 Jan 2014]

POLICE AND SECURITY - The number of people killed by police fell in 2012 as compared with 2011, but remained worryingly high. Several people were killed in controversial circumstances.

Following public outrage at the killings of 21 people by police in just six days at the beginning of March, the Minister of National Security announced that a review of the policy on police use of force would be undertaken and that the government would hold “the Commissioner of Police and the High Command accountable for a reduction in the level of Police fatal shootings”. However, by the end of the year no information had been made available about how this would be implemented.

In July, three soldiers were charged with the murder of Keith Clarke in his home during the first week of the 2010 state of emergency. In spite of repeated promises, the Public Defender failed to submit a report to Parliament with the findings of his investigation into allegations of human rights violations, including unlawful killings, during the state of emergency. The government stated that the decision on whether to appoint an independent commission of inquiry about what happened would depend on the results of the Public Defender’s investigation.

In its report to Parliament in June, the Independent Commission of Investigations into abuses by the security forces (INDECOM) identified collusion among members of the security forces, wearing masks and balaclavas during operations, and delays in obtaining forensic evidence as major challenges in the investigations. Following several judicial challenges brought by the police against INDECOM, a review of the legislation was initiated with the aim of clarifying INDECOM’s powers and mandate.

In October, the Minister of National Security announced that the government intended to dismantle the committee overseeing the implementation of police reform. Civil society organizations criticized this decision.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 2 February 2013]


Although the law prohibits such practices, reports of physical abuse of prisoners by guards continued, despite efforts by the government to remove abusive guards and improve procedures. On August 9, the Department of Correctional Services announced that it had discharged 16 correctional officers for misconduct. At year's end the department, in conjunction with the police, was investigating alleged criminal activities of the fired correctional officers, including trafficking of contraband, abuse of inmates, missing ammunition, and assisting with prison escapes.

A former prison doctor for the St. Catherine Adult Correction Center in Spanish Town publicly alleged at a St. Catherine parish council meeting and in a letter to the commissioner of corrections that mass rapes, particularly of mentally ill inmates and inmates serving time for nonviolent offenses, occurred at the prison during the year. The doctor also alleged that prison guards and some inmates were involved in "renting out" the victims for sex with other inmates. The Ministry of National Security agreed to investigate the allegations.

On February 17, the Supreme Court ordered the government to pay $50 thousand (J$3 million) in damages for the "oppressive and unconstitutional" conduct by a policeman who shot and injured 36-year-old electrician Esrick Morgan in 1998.

On March 9, a Supreme Court judge, in assessing damages against the government, described the conduct of a policeman who gave a prisoner a knife to wound another while in custody as "outrageous." The injured man was awarded $20 thousand (J$1.2 million) with interest in damages.

There were no developments in the case of six police officers accused of raping a prostitute in Negril, Westmoreland in March 2004.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 2   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 2 February 2013]

Despite government efforts to improve penal conditions, a mounting backlog of cases and a shortage of court staff at all levels continue to undermine the judicial system, which is slow and inefficient, particularly in addressing police abuses and violence in prisons. In April 2008, Amnesty International reported that 272 civilians had been killed by the police during the preceding year, but that punishment of negligent officers was rare given the persistent culture of impunity. Although there has been some willingness by authorities to charge police for extrajudicial killings, the system for investigating such abuse lacks personnel to pursue cases, protect crime-scene evidence, take statements from officers in a timely manner, and conduct adequate autopsies of victims.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Jamaica",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Jamaica]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Jamaica]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Jamaica]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Jamaica]  [other countries]