Attorney Isat Buchanan
Attorney-at-law Isat Buchanan is in agreement with the recommendations of the Mental Health Offenders Inquiry Committee which was established by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes to examine issues surrounding incarcerated persons deemed unfit to plea.
The issue was returned to the spotlight when 81-year-old Noel Chambers died in January after 40 years in prison without trial.
Since then, Mr. Buchanan has represented the family of George Williams, who had been languishing behind bars for nearly 50 years.
Speaking with Radio Jamaica News on Friday, Mr. Buchanan said the recommendations are extensive.
He is particularly pleased with the judiciary wanting to set up a court diversion programme for mentally disordered defendants.
Mr Buchanan has suggested families with mentally ill inmates should prepare to receive them.
"Again, I would say that reaching out to all family members who have persons with mental issues currently incarcerated to make contact with your family so that the process to freeing them will be a lot easier with your participation or your help," he urged.
Mr. Buchanan said he hopes the recommendations of the Mental Health Offenders Inquiry Committee will be implemented in the short term despite the resources and legislative changes required.
"A lot of the recommendations also is going (sic) to require future implementations on infrastructure, certainly, changing of legislation, amendments to legislation, and a lot of resources which currently the reality is that we don't have it. But the reality now is that there are 148 persons that are incarcerated that ought not to be incarcerated and the hope is that the problem will be addressed as a nation at its earliest, so that we move from what the current system is to a more preventative approach, because the committee has said they ought not be in prison, and that's the best recommendation that could come from anywhere," he insisted.