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Gov’t considering new Juvenile Justice Bill

Government is looking to establish a new Juvenile Justice Bill, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has announced in the wake of a 15-year-old girl being sentenced to prison.

Addressing the annual Prison Fellowship angel tree launching ceremony yesterday, Brathwaite pointed out that Barbados does not have a history of incarcerating juveniles. He also said Government was looking at ways to move young people out of the criminal justice system.

“Now in our criminal justice system, incarceration is usually the very last step, especially if it’s juveniles . . . incarceration is when the court feels there is no alternative. We don’t have a history of incarcerating our young people, especially a 15 year old. That’s not how Barbados operates. There is much more to this. Our criminal justice system does not operate like that,” he said.

He said however that he was concerned about the growing number of aggressive young women in the country.

“We have reached a stage where it concerns me where our young women seem more aggressive that young men. That is something that needs to be urgently looked at. I don’t know what has changed in our country that young women are now attracted to the roughest of males,” he added.

Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite

Brathwaite also urged the young people to think about what they were doing before engaging in activities that put them on the wrong side of the law.

“One of the things that we need to do is to ask our young people before they take whatever actions they are going to take, think of the pain and suffering that they cause to their families, their mothers in particular. They really need to stop, think and reflect and ask themselves, ‘Do I really want to cause this pain to my mother and grandmother? Do I want my son or daughter to have to come up here and visit me?’” he said.

He thanked the Prison Fellowship group for their work and urged them to continue doing what they were doing.

“I really pray that we do save more of the young people. I want you [Prison Fellowship] to continue the work that you do for the people of Barbados. I am sure you don’t often have the opportunity for people to walk up and say thanks for saving me, you don’t know the amount of people you save, but you do it because it is the right thing to do.

“As Christians, part of your mission is to spread love and cheer and to help uplift your fellow man.  I want to ask you to continue doing your work.  I pledge to continue doing all I can to assist,” he said.

Braithwaite also urged Barbadians on a whole to do all they could to assist the island’s youth.

“One of the challenges that we have is the fact that our value system seems to have broken down. The basic things that we do that have made me who I am. The singing of hymns on morning’s first thing. Now we have a situation where children are telling you they are not going to worship and parents are supporting that.

“We need to find a way to teach them right from wrong. Find whatever option to teach them values. We need to do more to save our young people.”

He also urged continued support for inmates, saying they are at risk of re-offending unless they are offered second chances.

4 Responses to Gov’t considering new Juvenile Justice Bill

  1. Hal Austin November 13, 2016 at 8:40 am

    We do need a review of juvenile criminal justice. But it cannot be based on the savagery of sending a 15 yr old girl to Dodds. That is rooted in the authoritarian, barbarism of the magistrate.
    New juvenile legislation must look again at the age of criminal responsibility; doing our best to keep troubled children under the care of their parents and avoid institutionalisation; preventing children from being labelled through such silly policies as posting police in schools, as called for by a senior regional security officer; and putting education and training at the very heart of juvenile justice.
    If police are posted in schools, let us say a primary school, it means that there is a danger of seven yr olds being branded as delinquents by the police (since that is what they are there for), and this negative label following the children for the rest of their lives.
    We also need a juvenile court with specialist officers and magistrates. It means that we would not have cases similar to that of the Rasta parents whose children were named by the irresponsible and untrained press, a fact ignored by the school welfare officers and the magistrates. That is a classic example of a case that should have been herd in the family court with the press excluded.
    I too care about a free press and spent 47 years working on some of Britain’s best known publications. But the press also has a responsibility.

    Reply
  2. Tony Webster November 13, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Quote: “He said however that he was concerned about the growing number of aggressive young women in the country.” Unquote.

    No amount of legislation….or hand-wringing…will remove the responsibility which rests upon parents (both parents) to raise a child, to mould that precious child, to grow into a responsible citizen capable of understanding, of appreciating, and of discharging a citizens basic responsibilities to society, and to know what comprises a civilized human being.

    Where we deviate from this, the signpost says “Rocky Gully, via Lost Generation St.”

    Reply
  3. Crime Prevention is Key November 13, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Once again we find ourselves at the cross roads repeating the same old thing which helps no one. We, the citizens of Barbados can not expect the country to school our kids and teach them what is right from wrong. I the same light we have too many young people playing mommy and daddy with no sense raising kids so its a cycle that needs to be broken.
    Once a crime has been committed by a juvenile these are the questions should be asked;
    1. What is the root cause of the committal of the crime?
    2. What is the atmosphere at the juvenile residence?
    3. Instead of sending the juvenile to jail what other option of supervision do we have? Answer NONE

    When a person is placed on curfew they need to be 24 hour monitored and i believe strongly in electronic monitoring of offenders which reduces re-offending and the authorities can schedule schooling, treatment, skills training and other activities to assist the offender with reintegration into the society. Also if a crime is committed law enforcement can easily rule out or confirm the involvement of the monitored offenders.

    Keeping noise and doing nothing is not making the country safer or helping offenders to obtain second chances. Business places may feel better knowing an offender is being monitored at least when on their property working and all offenders will be off the streets and in their homes at night where they should be.

    For now offenders are winning the fight against crime as curfew orders by the court is a joke who is going to go around checking to ensure all these persons on bail or other court orders stay home during the restricted times. These are different times with more intelligent criminals and we need to step up our game or be constantly beaten at our own game.

    Reply
  4. Tony Waterman November 14, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    @AG!!!!””Brathwaite pointed out that Barbados does not have a history of incarcerating juveniles.””
    But Mr.Ag. that is a reality now, so what are you going to do to rectify that appalling Situation, except Talk.
    There are many things wrong with the handling of Juveniles in Barbados, it should be a Criminal act for anyone to publish their Names or identify their Families, and they should Definitely NOT be sent tot Dodds, what has happened to the GIS which for many years, was at Dodds (Pre Prison time)that is where Juvies were sent back then.so why is this 15 year old Girl at Dodds, she WILL NOT come out of there any better of than when she went in.

    This Ag.is like Titts on a Bull, Useless.

    Reply

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