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Senior Superintendent of Police for Area One, Ivan Brown has said that policemen and women in the jurisdiction fully supported the use of the Community Service Order, one of the non-custodial sentencing options of the Courts.
Mr. Brown was addressing a stakeholders seminar hosted by the Community Service Enhancement Unit of the Department of Corrections, at the St. John’s Methodist Church Hall in Montego Bay on May 27. The seminar was held under the theme: ‘Empowering Stakeholders for Quality Service’.
Superintendent Brown said that the persons who put forward the reform to move away from mandatory sentencing for offences, such as possession of small portions of ganja, could be described as visionaries. He emphasized that the officers in Area One were in full support of the implementation of the Order, as it gives options to both the courts and the offenders.
Mr. Brown called on the Department of Corrections to organize and stage seminars islandwide, specially geared at sensitizing police officers about the usefulness of the programme. He pointed out that there might be members within the Police Force who did not readily accept change, and with some of them coming from an era when persons received mandatory sentences for possession and use of ganja, irrespective of the amount, they needed to be convinced about the benefits of the Community Service Order programme.
The Superintendent argued that when a Court sentenced an individual for an offence, that sentence should serve the purpose of punishing, reforming and rehabilitating the individual, and also serve as a deterrent. He also noted that the Community Service Order programme would assist in alleviating overcrowding in the island’s penal institutions. Senior Resident Magistrate in the Drug Court in Montego Bay, Winsome Henry also expressed her full support for the Community Service Order programme, noting that she has used the Order in many instances and has seen positive results from it.
Under the Community Service Order, an offender 17 years old and over can be ordered by a Judge/Magistrate to do unpaid work in the community for minor or non-violent offences.