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LETTER OF THE DAY - Don't throw away more money on courts, prisons

Published:Tuesday | July 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM


I read Martin Henry's article titled 'Ellington tek wi fi fool' (Sunday Gleaner, July 6, 2014) and became upset with some of what he wrote.

If crime is trending upward, as Paula Llewellyn outlined, why is there a need for more money to be pumped into the legal/justice system? What are the returns to be gained by so doing? Can the legal system stamp out crime? Do you know of any democratic country where this is the case?

Don't you think it would be far more beneficial to the nation that any additional money we could secure be spent on social programmes, skills training, education and job creation rather than on the legal/justice system referenced by Llewellyn and supported by you? Wouldn't more money being spent in these areas be far more likely to trend crime downward than were it to be spent on the legal system?

Last Friday, I went down to Sutton Street Court and, to my amazement, I did not see one well-to-do person being drawn before the court. All I saw were the sons and daughters of the have-nots, the wretched of the earth, as Fanon would call them.

Do you think it's because the poor have jobs and are able to provide for their families why they commit crimes? In other words, do you think if they had training and education and could find jobs to feed their families, they would commit crimes? Do you think the poor find any honour in having to commit crimes to feed their loved ones? Get real, my brother.

Crime is a social malady crying out for the medicine of social interventions in the form of job creation, skills training and education. These are the areas in which we need to spend as much money as possible and not on building more courthouses and, by extension, more prisons. What good do these serve?

This country has a high recidivist rate. We place far too much emphasis on punishment than on training. We need to study the Swedes' approach to crime and punishment.