Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Three-pronged plan to curb crime, violence

Published:Wednesday | December 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The problem of crime and violence in Jamaica has grown far too large for any quick solutions to be found, as some pundits have said. The Government of Jamaica needs a concentrated focus on solving crime, its contributing factors, and resulting consequences.

This is because crime in this country is not a one-off issue. It is a multifaceted problem that has entered every corner of our society. Here is my proposition to the Government:

For any criminal to be brought to justice, they must first be caught.

1. Decentralise the entities that are responsible for law enforcement and criminal justice. This speaks to the police force and the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The Government should adopt a policy of decentralising these entities to the parish level. This would clear the way for there to be a St James Police Command and a Portland DPP office. This would do two important things: create clear areas of accountability, and allow a parish-based approach to combating crime, as no two parishes have the same dynamics to crime.

Now that you have caught these offending persons, they must be brought to justice before a court of law.

2. Increase court staffing. We have all heard about the massive backlog of cases currently before the Jamaican court system. We first need more courtrooms so as to have the ability to hold multiple trials at the same time. This will lead to expedited proceedings. Next, we need more judges, clerks and support staff. This will free persons up to focus on the details of the job. Finally, hire more prosecutors and support staff for the Office of the DPP. This should lead to a higher case closure rate.

3. Reform prisons: This involves a radical change in how the Government's rehabilitation programmes are carried out. Such a move incorporates the facilities in which prisoners are held and what these prisoners do while being locked up.