Dec 23, 2009

The Penalty is Wrong!


I am very upset about this!
I recently read a story about a 13 year old girl who was sentenced to three years' incarceration at a home for juvenile delinquents for the "theft of her aunt’s jewelry". The problem is the report stated that the girl took the jewelry to go and lime with her friends (to lime is to hang out in Trinidad) . The report did not say that the girl took the jewelry to sell it or if any of the jewelry was lost or sold.
Now I understand what the child did was wrong but is the punishment fitting for the "crime"? This same report was broadcast on one of the radio stations from southern Trinidad. In that report there was also a story of a man who stole items from a supermarket. The sentence from the court for the theft was a fine of TT$50.00 for stealing from the supermarket. Now tell me how do you compare these offences where a child stole or 'borrowed items' from a family member and was put away for three years and an adult who stole from a business establishment and only fined TT$50.00 for the offence?
"The Law is an Ass and in this case a dumb Ass!"
Now when most children are in high school preparing for their CXC examination this child is now a ward of the state! How does this help this child to develop into a worthy citizen? This child now has a record that will be an impediment to her future work related activities. What in heaven’s name is going on in Trinidad? This child and parents should have been directed to the relevant social services for help.
This child needs help not incarceration!
Forget 20/20 vision that has nothing to do with the social development of the society but only has to do with making Port-of-Spain resemble one of the smaller US cities. This is a shame and the public should not allow this to happen. The adult who stole and only fined got the deal of his life while the child's life and future aspiration got dumped in the wasteland of the Governments wishy washy juvenile system that simply does not help these young people - it is just a place to lock away 'so called delinquents' - in other words simply a jail for children!

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