Half of our inmates dropped out of school - Minto
Assistant Superintendent of Police Coleridge Minto, the director of safety and security in schools in the Ministry of Education, says that based on a 2012 study, 50 per cent of the persons imprisoned in Jamaica had dropped out of school.
Minto revealed the data from the study while addressing the second phase of The Mico University College's discussion series at the Montego Bay Community College on Wednesday evening. The topic was 'Using education to combat crime and violence'.
"Research indicates that many who end up committing serious crimes were frequent absentees from school," said Minto.
"In 2012, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) went into the prisons and did a study on the inmates, and more than 50 per cent of those who were incarcerated had either dropped out of school or left school with very few qualifications."
He added: "We're mindful that we're in the education ministry's Region Four, which is the police's Area One division, and, according to a 2015 study that the education ministry did, Region Four actually has the highest number of school dropouts."
The schools' safety and security director also identified the school as one of three major socialising agents, together with the family and the Church, which are responsible for child development.
"The school, the Church and the family are the three most important and influential socialising agents, especially in a child's formative years. While circumstances may cause the family to shirk their responsibilities, the school is mandated by law to provide a positive experience through education," said Minto.
The Mico University College's ongoing discussion series is designed around a range of national issues, including crime. Jamaica has recorded more than 1,300 murders since January. St James, which lies in the Area One police division, has the nation's highest murder tally - 256.