Wed | Apr 25, 2018

An interesting peek at the justice system

Published:Sunday | November 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Two powerful books were recently launched at the Norman Manley Law School, UWI, Mona, last Wednesday, November 14 - Howard Hamilton's Born to Defend and Adam McIntyre's Understanding the Criminal.

Howard Hamilton, CD, QC, is a renowned defence attorney and former public defender, who has chronicled his many high-profile cases, spanning over 52 years in the 14 parishes in Jamaica as well as in several Caribbean islands. Adam McIntyre is a 25-year veteran of the Cayman Islands Criminal Justice system, who has served as prison education coordinator, prison officer and counsellor after an illustrious career of teaching in four high schools in Jamaica.

Challenge society

With their two books, Hamilton and McIntyre have formed a formidable partnership to challenge society to review their largely unsuccessful approach in tackling criminal behavior.

After 73 consecutive career wins, and numerous encounters with offenders, Howard Hamilton agrees with Adam McIntyre that "the society is sometimes the cause, but always the victim of the criminal". Hamilton's stalwart initiatives in marshalling support for street children and the socially handicapped is well known and has been acknowledged as is evident from his many awards.

As crime continues to drive fear into the society and threaten economic stability, Born to Defend and Understanding the Criminal offer us a useful scaffold on which to build our hopes as we wander through the forest of despair. Together, the authors share more than 77 years of experience interacting, sometimes, hazardously close, with criminals, and have been privy, not only to their ruthless, heartless acts, but also to their fears, needs and shattered, long-abandoned dreams.

Handbook for society

As Dr Henley Morgan notes in his spirited endorsement of Understanding the Criminal, "It is a handbook for society" and should be read by anyone concerned with criminal behaviour and wants to understand how to help their loved ones avoid falling victims to crime.

Mr McIntyre, who has witnessed several riots and deaths in prison, including that of a fellow officer and best friend, poignantly states in his book, "Our dilemma is this: the criminal has been reviled, arrested, convicted, punished and misunderstood. A nation that does not understand the nature and consequences of imprisonment is deluded and will be more punished than they can ever punish a convicted prisoner."