JAMAICAN Gov’t seeks legal opinion on music in prisons — sparked by strong opinions on the issue by spokesperson on youth and culture Lisa Hanna

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS Senior staff reporter saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com  Thursday, March 02, 2017 

STATE Minister for national security, Senator Pearnel Charles Jnr, says he has asked a legal team and the Commissioner of Corrections Ina Hunter to provide a clear understanding of the interpretation of the laws and regulations governing the production of music in maximum security prisons.
“There are a number of questions that were asked in relation to the category of inmates, (such as) whether an inmate involved in an appeal… is able to be involved in the rehabilitation programme; you hear a lot of things in the public domain as to whether an appellant could record at the studio that is there, or whether an appellant would be excluded from using the studio under a rehabilitation programme,” Charles told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
He noted that the main concern for the public now — sparked by strong opinions on the issue by spokesperson on youth and culture Lisa Hanna — is the allegations of illegal production of music by inmates held in these facilities.
01Charles, in the meantime, said he is not in agreement with the recent suggestion by Hanna of the wholesale banning of the intellectual property of murder convicts. “It’s a very simplistic view to say you’re convicted, and you’re making this impact, so we are going to sensor your music. Remember, sometimes you may be the creator of the music and may have sold the rights to your music. That is why we have to have a clear and cogent discussion on several issues: banning somebody’s music because they are convicted, and banning music that arises from unauthorised recordings (which) wouldn’t be banning. That music is just illegal,” he said. According to Charles, the aim of incarceration is to rehabilitate people and not to punish them. “People come into the institutions as punishment, not for punishment. Even within the context of hard labour, there are conditions that we have to abide by. The goal must be, where possible, to rehabilitate these persons,” he said.
He said a high-level security meeting was recently held with the Commissioner of Corrections and other stakeholders with a view to taking on board recommendations to fix the challenges and inefficiencies plaguing the system.
At the same time, he noted that the regulations to the Corrections Act will be reviewed because some infractions are not currently covered in the regulations.
“Let’s use Adidja Palmer (Vybz Kartel) for example, let us say hypothetically that he was recording [without permission] and he was to send out, by Whatsapp, music to a producer. You don’t have evidence to prove it but you believe that it is happening, what do you do with the music?” he questioned.
“I have asked the legal department and the commissioner and her team to think about these things,” he stated. more

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