The Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN) warns against Jail Block usage at Rio Cobre after Armadale tragedy. A tragedy waiting to happen- that’s how one advocacy group is describing the jail block of the Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre in St. Catherine while alluding to the reported treatment of wards there, 12 years after fire gutted the Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre in St. Ann. Seven girls were killed and several more injured with physical and emotional scars for life.

A damning 2010 enquiry into the cause of the fire revealed that an officer allegedly threw an explosive object inside the room after being called to the facility to address reports that some of the girls planned to escape. But the object reportedly set the room ablaze.

23 girls were tucked in a room. The key for the room could not be found to release them in time, resulting in the tragedy.

But twelve years later, the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network fears the govt has not learned from that deadly mistake.

An INDECOM special report at The Rio Cobre Juvenile Centre revealed that in June 2020, a ward in an isolated punishment room called the jail had a medical emergency but the only key to open that area was off the compound…

An incident that according to the advocacy group bears an eerie resemblance to the lockdown at Armadale. Fortunately, that child did not suffer the same fate.