Proven method of long term incarceration


Sunday, July 08, 2018

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The use of the word 'war' has differed in its application since the days it was viewed as a description of infantry invading with an intention to defeat, occupy and conquer.

The use of the word 'war' in the popular term 'the 'crack wars of the 90s' is often represented in films featuring southern Los Angeles. The 80s in Florida experienced 'the cocaine wars', which led to murder rates of 800 per annum from an average of 150.

Unlike other countries that have no issue using the term 'war', Jamaica avoids it like cats do water. This despite it being an apt description for several periods of our recent history.

The 1970s was a civil war, whether declared or defined as such, and any other description is hypocrisy.

The Tivoli Gardens incursion was a war in every respect other than declaration, and what we are experiencing in recent years with murder rates of 54 per 100,000 and a tourist city at 150 per 100,000 is a state of war.

Northern Ireland in the 1970s had a civil war and it never came near these figures, though they were using bombs and a colonial army to combat it.

If you don't define it with the words that aptly describe it, then you will never bring about solutions to truly combat war. So let us look on the methodology used to win one of these wars that could help us to defeat our enemy — 'the Jamaican gangster'.

The war on crack was launched in the 1990s by law enforcement in several cities, but a primary focus was the city of Los Angeles.

There were several elements which included but were not limited to the militarisation of the police; the use of massive raids and shutdown of communities; and the mandatory sentencing of drug distributors, dealers, traffickers and, to some extent, users. There have been several critics, but one thing for certain, crack is no longer wreaking havoc in any way near the level it did in the 1990s. This is largely due to the mandatory sentencing strategy pursued by the legal system. It in effect 'lost' one for decades in the prison system.

Despite believing that Jamaican judges are the one element of our system that works as they should and are free of corruption, I endorse mandatory sentencing. This because it frees the judges of the burden of sentencing young men to the loss of their life in practical terms, or at least the loss of their youth. And boy have they earned it. This bunch of killers that I am describing as the Jamaican gang member is no longer welcome in our society and separation from those of us who don't rape, rob, murder, or maim is needed. Once you have passed a certain threshold of cruelty to other human beings you have given up the right to be among us.

Would you really want to rehabilitate a group of men who gang-rape a child? No. Put them in a cage till they walk with canes.

So for murder it would be 60 years, possession of a firearm 30 years, armed robbery 40 years, dealing in firearms 50 years, shooting someone 45 years, rape 50 years, and the list goes on.

Let it be that once you go in front of a court for a gun offence and convicted you are pretty much never seen again. This would dissuade the upcoming youth in inner-city communities to avoid conduct that lead to the disappearance of men from the community who engaged in gun crime. This, rather than having the gunmen return with 'stripes' and escalated respect and an improved network. It worked in the war on crack despite being viewed as too harsh and too specific to minorities.

That may be true and may be a reflection of the economic imbalance of minorities in major cities, but it ended the destruction of many communities and its damaged populace.

The 9,500 men that our Government says are gang members are killers and the vendors and creators of unmeasurable misery to the rest of us. A one-way prison system and the return to bail being a pro ledge, not a right, could be the solution.

After all, what other situation is left to try? This lot needs to go. The choice to kill and hurt us was theirs. The decision to rid ourselves of them should be ours.

Jason McKay is a criminologist. Email:

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