Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, has informed that certain measures will be implemented to improve the efficiency of the courts.
He explained that the Government is looking at some cases, for example, small civil claims, which could be dealt with by Justices of the Peace (JPs).
In an interview with JIS News, the Minister said that similarly, minor offences, such as possession of small quantities of ganja, could also be dealt with at the level of a JP, and would not trigger a permanent criminal record for the offender.
“What I would like to see is that these courts could, in some instances, be situated in the communities themselves. The idea is bringing justice to the people. That of course will raise some logistical challenges as those centres will have to be appropriately configured, and staffed. We are looking at whether that will be possible in the near future, but in any event, we want the jurisdiction of the JPs to be enhanced,” he said.
He further noted that there should be a demarcation as to what offences should warrant detention and others which should only result in arrest and the issuing of a summons to attend court, without the person being detained.
“Too many minor offences result in people being incarcerated in lock ups,” Senator Golding said, adding that there could be the possibility of having persons involved in community service tied to the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
“This is an idea I have, where persons could give community service by working on some of the JEEP projects. This could also become a part of the justice system, with persons paying their debt for their crime without being held in overcrowded prison conditions, where they are exposed to the types of behaviour and thinking which can make them into hard core criminals,” the Minister said.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter