He told a regional security conference here that ends on Thursday, while he is often accused of taking a “soft approach” on crime, he is nonetheless defending his position to give second chances, particularly to young people, while making the necessary interventions.
“There is a time and place for serious punishment, but there are also times when intervention is necessary, particularly where youth are involved and where the softer skills are required,” Brathwaite told delegates attending the strengthening evidence based decision for citizenship in the Caribbean (CariSECURE), a component of the United States Youth Empowerment Services project.
The goal of the CariSECURE project is to improve youth crime and violence policy-making and programming in the Southern and Eastern Caribbean through the use of quality, comparable and reliable national citizen security information.
The theory of change being pursued is that CariSECURE will improve the decision-making process in Caribbean public institutions by providing quantitative and qualitative tools for analysis and supporting their incorporation into national citizen security policies and actions.
The project aims to transform quantitative data into useful qualitative information, enabling public servants to make data-informed decisions and to use this information to develop policies and programmes that address key crime and violence problems identified in the data.
Brathwaite said it made “little sense” incarcerating a 19-year-old for five years and then have that person return to the community with the same challenges such as low morale, poor education or family difficulties.
However, the Attorney General stressed that the issue of crime and youth violence was not a Barbados issue, but rather a regional one which required a collective response.
He said he hoped initiatives such as CariSECURE would enable policymakers to formulate and implement strategies which were based on scientific evidence and were therefore more effective.
“It is acknowledged that standardisation of the collection and management of crime data allows for comparisons and trend analysis. This is relevant both locally and regionally in the context of the fight against crime,” Brathwaite said, noting that regional cooperation in addressing the issue was critical.
- Countries: Barbados