Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Glimpse Into the Belly of The Trinidad and Tobago' Criminal Justice System


Golden Grove Prison
For Too Many Paradise Becomes Hell


Shit happens. Lets face it, you are an accident or stone's throw away from losing your freedom.

A loud rapping sound on your door or a police road block in the company of the wrong people could land you in jail.

You could even lose it one day and loudly use the F word in the presence of the law and that too can land you in jail.  Never mind, that every 6 year old uses it and it is the common language with the people who arrest you.
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No question, crime is bad but the solutions that we have in place makes it even worse. .

There are stories of grandmothers being dragged out and arrested because a grandchild hid marijuana in her house. The law is the law and when it is broken somebody or everybody must pay. The police has been known to arrest everyone in a car load of five people, with one joint. Here is a previous post that shares The Truth about marijuana, ganga, weed.

And by the way, no one was ever arrested when "a plant like substance" was reportedly found at the ex PM residence. "Some pigs are more equal than other" from the book Animal Farm.

Their when we look at the crime detection rate what we see is absolutely phenomenal.  In , in this age of crime detection gadgetry, they are still using humongous books to record reports of crime. We spend millions, billions on building empty structures, and the police cannot respond because there are no police cars.  Here are the current crime statistics for Trinidad and Tobago. .

The big question is; Why is it easier to detect crime in the United States with over 100 million people than in TnT with a population of just over 1 million?

The answer may be in an article buried in a recent Sunday Express  dated 20th Feb. 2016,  entitled, "Calls for minor offenses to be bail free"  (Sorry, could not find it online)

The article was focused on an address delivered by the Inspector of Prisons of Trinidad and Tobago, Daniel Khan, the highest ranking prison official.  According to the  article his points were as follows.
  • That the government should revoke the bail provisions in respect of minor offenses such as obscene language, and possession of marijuana, making those offenses bail free.
  • The system, is putting more poor people, i.e. people without property or the financial means to secure legal advice. 
  • Minor offenses make up 50% of the population in the Remand Yard, e.g. the Port of Spain Royal Jail where and average waiting time for a case to be called is 8 years.  Some cases takes as long as 10 years to be resolved. 
  • The Prison system is suffering from "Judicial Delay" because of the back log of cases.  Because of these delays prisoners are understandably angry and willing to risk life and limb to escape, like we saw recently in the still to be concluded daring daylight prison break from the Port of Spain jail.
The Inspector's conclusions were especially important to note.  The following is a direct quote from the article.

"Deterrent justice does not work because detection rates are so low; retributive justice doesn't work because u you are taking revenge then years later and rehabilitative justice does not work because the prison conditions are poor" 

The entire sistem needs to be reformed.  The question is who will do it. The sad part is that prisoners are not allowed to vote so the politician are not interested in the issue, that is until they land up there and at that point there is nothing they can do to reform the  system.  Typical catch 22.

View a video on why the war on drugs is such a failure.





The system is unforgiving, it is a system separated by class, property and financial standing.  In most cases it's the poor man and woman without property or required finances who feel full force of the justice system and all it shortcomings.

People who sit by and do nothing or say nothing is part of the problem.  A problem we as a people must fix, .The people who knows it best says it has to be fixed yet they are ignored in favor of the war on crime.  A war the police is losing everyday in Trinidad and Tobago.