Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Who'll plead for the mentally ill?

Published:Tuesday | October 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Justice reform has taken a new and vigorous step towards equity and good fortune to convicted criminals. This, in the form of sentence reduction, wherein there will be less recidivism.

The backlog of felonies will be greatly alleviated. The pressure on the justice system will be eased and members of the legal fraternity will breathe fresh air.

One might be thinking, why are we just releasing such hardened criminals back into society?

The waste of precious time and the keeping of criminals for protracted periods is not easy for a government that is being regulated fiscally by the IMF. We have to weigh the opportunity cost. We will have to look at the pros and the cons and measure our worth after these fiscal procedures.

Murders and rapes by psychopaths and paedophiles are our main concern, but if they are properly rehabilitated, they can be of benefit to our society. But the conundrum is, why can't we also release on shorter sentences those who cannot plead for themselves? This is how the chronically mentally ill are going to be ostracised by the wider society.

From the east with the killer of the McCools in St Thomas and the killer of Mario Dean in the west (St James), these guys don't possesses the eloquence or brainpower to discern and reason logically to extricate themselves from potentially long sentences.

We need no rocket scientist to tell us that there are persons with genuine cases of mental illnesses who the justice system has destroyed. I want legislation formulated so that the public defender can plead for these underprivileged individuals.



Greater Portmore