Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Mother happy with kleptomaniac son's transformation

Published:Monday | July 11, 2016 | 7:00 AMJason Cross
Chief Justice Zaila McCalla (second left) in discussion with (from right) Coleridge Minto, assistant superintendent of police; Jhana Harris, component coordinator of USAID/COMET II programme; Bishop Dr Gary Welsh, assistant commissioner of police, community safety and security branch; Jeanelle van GlaanenWeygel, OAS representative; and Paula Blake Powell, senior parish court judge. They were attending the Kingston, and St Andrew Family Court presentation ceremony for participants in its Children’s Drug Treatment Court Programme at the Institute of Jamaica, East Street, Kingston, on Friday, July 8.

Last year, when her then 16-year-old son got involved with what she describes as "bad company" in a downtown Kingston community while staying with his grandmother, everything seemed to be travelling downhill for Maria*.

Though things are not exactly where she would prefer them now, Maria is happy that progress has been made with her son, who, through the Kingston and St Andrew Family Court Children's Drug Treatment Programme, has been able to curb his kleptomaniac tendencies.

"Last year July, my son lick head with some guys from the downtown area. They influenced him, start giving him ganja to smoke. Him don't come home. Him go a mi yard, take out mi TV, carry it go gi dem. Dem sell it for nothing. Mi blender, mi money, mi clothes, mi bag, you name it. Him empty mi house and carry it go gi di guy dem," she said.

"I pressed charge and they lock him up. After that, we went to court and him get bail and they ordered him back to my house. Again, he took away the TV and give him friend them and we go back a court and them put him back inna remand for a couple months; then the judge said she was going to give him a chance. She assigned him a probation officer and put him on the RISE [Life] Management programme, where every Saturday they do drug test and Monday him get counselling. The doctor says him is a kleptomaniac, him have a 'thiefing' disorder."

 

TONED DOWN BEHAVIOUR

 

Maria said since going through the programme, her son's behaviour has toned down and the troubles subsided. He, along with five other boys, were presented with certificates and awards for completing the Kingston and St Andrew Family Court Children's Drug Treatment Programme under the watchful eyes of senior parish court judge in the Kingston and St Andrew Family Court, Paula Blake Powell.

The boys involved with the programme are guilty of committing a variety of offences. As advice, Powell has encouraged parents to remain resilient.

"The programme started September 2014. The children coming in are charged with a variety of offences; larceny, unlawful wounding, having offensive weapons, smoking ganja and possession of ganja. They came for a variety of reasons, not just criminal offences. Some of them were before the court as being uncontrollable in terms of their behaviour. We understand that they are disappointed when children disappoint them and commit crimes, but Jamaican parents just need to be strong, be resilient," Powell said.

* Name changed to protect minor's identity.