The ‘Data Problem’ hampering Jamaica’s Court System

Recently I published a study examining the Jamaican Court System, the following areas were scrutinized:

  1. The Criminal Divisions of the Supreme and Resident Magistrate Courts
  2. The Gun Court
  3. The Family Court
  4. The Coroner’s Court

Jamaica Court systemMy research found that the Jamaican Court’s information management system is manual, heavily paper-based and inadequate to provide needed real-time data. The challenges that currently exist in data management continue to have serious implications for the efficacy, timeliness and reliability of Jamaica’s Court system.

The biggest problems affecting the court system:

1. Lack of Physical Resources (Equipment)

  • General lack of equipment such as computers, surge protectors and no database management system in place at the Resident Magistrates Courts to capture statistical data.
  • Clerk of the Courts were not assigned individual computers, resulting in data being stored in books and court sheets.
  • Limited number of computers assigned to clerks, affecting their capacity to capture and store relevant data

2. Human Resources

  • The Jamaican Court System suffers from inadequate staffing; one (1) clerk is assigned to a court. This makes it difficult for the Clerk of Courts to collect data, while managing the court at the same time; especially, when the court is mentioning new or part heard cases.

3. Spatial Problems

  • The Jamaican Court System is hampered by the limited office space now available, many courts cannot accommodate any new furniture. The offices are overcrowded and documents are mainly stored in an unplanned fashion (any place available). The court offices need to be relocated and outfitted with modern furniture.

4. Training

  • The Jamaican Court System’s staff members need to be trained and sensitized to the importance of data capture and storage methods to national development.
  • The Resident Magistrate’s Court Staff members need to be trained in the use of the Judicial Management and Enforcement System (JEMS); which is the computer application used to store data in the Supreme Court of Jamaica

Download a copy of the paper (pdf): Click here

About Contributor:

horatio

Horatio Morgan is the author of “The Jamaican Court System Statistics Project” and is an Education Administrator and a certified Management Analyst interested in the areas of technical analysis, development of indicators and research. Organizational Analysis is one of his many passions and the need to incorporate research into the rubric of developing national governmental policies.

Horatio has worked in the Court System of Jamaica for the last 10 years in various capacities and particularly, functioned from 2010 as a Research Analyst. For further detail contact him at horatio.morgan@yahoo.com

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