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Thwaites in support of anti-gang proposal to punish child recruiters

Published:Thursday | July 4, 2013 | 6:15 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, is supporting a proposal in the recently tabled anti-gang legislation that seeks to prosecute persons who recruit children into criminal organisations.

Under the proposed Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, persons convicted of recruiting children into criminal gangs could be locked away for up to 20 years with an additional 10 years if they recruit children within 300 metres of an educational institution.

Thwaites says while he has concerns about the severity of the penalty, he supports the intent of the clause as children are being encouraged to join gangs.

Meanwhile, the education minister is downplaying concerns that there is an increase in school violence.

Since January, at least five students have been killed in confrontations with their colleagues.

There have also been numerous reports of violent behaviour involving students on and off school grounds.

On Tuesday, the National Security Minister announced in the House of Representatives that the proposed legislation is to go before a special committee of Parliament for review.

The bill, which is aimed at suppressing and dismantling organised crime, has been criticised as too draconian.


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