Values and attitudes need a reset
The nation's values and attitudes need to be reset and the Church has a crucial role to play in bringing this about, according to a senior official in the Ministry of National Security.
Acting Chief Technical Director Shauna Trowers told a research conference, hosted recently by the School of Religion and Theology at Mandeville-based Northern Caribbean University (NCU) that the Church was one of the most powerful agents of socialisation.
"It is through religion that we will assist in fixing the (deviant) mind, and through love and hope from the word of God," said Trowers, who has responsibility for research, rehabilitation and diversion policy at the national security ministry.
"Government cannot provide religious instructions, it cannot build character, it cannot invoke those moral attitudes and self-control upon which the balance of the social structure must rest," Trowers told the conference , which was being held under the theme - 'Religion and Crime Prevention - A Focus on Jamaica'.
She reasoned that it was more difficult for the Government to change the behaviour of an aggregate of individuals compared to the challenge of the Church to address the attitudes of individuals themselves.
During her address, Trowers disclosed that the national security ministry was finalising a partnership with the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists - the parent organisation of NCU - to rehabilitate youth offenders.
The initiative involves the Adventist Laymen Service and Industries providing opportunities for mentoring and internship to youth offenders in the State's four juvenile centres and those serving non-custodial sentences.
"It is initiatives and partnerships such as these that are critical components of the rehabilitation and reintegration programme of the ministry," Trowers noted.