Let’s do more to help youth, says Registrar
The nature of juvenile crime is changing, says Registrar of the Supreme Court, Barbara Cooke-Alleyne.
As such, she has reiterated the need for programmes to educate children entering secondary schools on the possible challenges they could face and how to tackle them, so they would not end up before the law courts.
She was speaking to the media after receiving an undisclosed monetary donation from the Guardian Group on behalf of the 10th annual 11-Plus programme In The Winners Circle. It took place at the Collymore Rock Church Of The Nazrene yesterday.
The three-week programme is aimed at pupils who recently completed the Common Entrance Exam. It addresses topics such as bullying and conflict resolution, peer pressure and wandering.
While not giving statistics, Cooke-Alleyne expressed concern over the number of young people appearing before the court for crimes she said could be prevented.
She said every year the Registration Department compiled statistics on what was happening in the courts and this year they focused on juveniles, from 2011 to April this year.
From 2011 to 2013, the main infraction among boys was theft, while that for girls was wandering. However, after 2014, it was assault among boys, and theft by girls.
“So we are seeing an increase in violence among our young people, and there are several factors contributing to that as well. It could be what they are seeing on the Internet, the music they are listening to, and the neighbours that watch and say nothing these days,” Cooke-Alleyne said.
With drugs being so prevalent, she said programmes like In The Winners Circle – which taught children the importance of saying no to drugs, sex and bullying – were vital.
The Registrar also said the laws needed to be relooked so more youth could be saved from being sent straight to a correctional facility.
She explained that if a 14-year-old committed a crime, community service was not an option because that sentence was against the law for anyone under 16. (DR)