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NCJ Number: 77906 Find in a Library
Title: Urban Crime and Violence in Jamaica (From Crime and Punishment in the Caribbean, P 29-51, 1980, Rosemary Brana-Shute and Gary Brana-Shute, ed. - See NCJ-77904)
Author(s): D Allen
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: University Press of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32603
Sale Source: University Press of Florida
15 15th Street, NW
Gainesville, FL 32603
United States of America
Type: Statistics
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The increase in Jamaica's urban crime and violence is documented, and some possible reasons for it are explored.
Abstract: Violent crimes have risen dramatically in Jamaica, to the extent that fear of victimization is altering citizens' behavior. One particular concern has been the use of guns in the commission of crimes. In the mid-1960's, shooting incidents were about 7 per 100,000 population annually. In 1974, shootings with intent to kill increased by 1900 percent, while murders increased almost 400 percent. About 70 percent of the murders occurred in urban Kingston, where 30 percent of Jamaica's population lives. These data prompted the passage of the Gun Court Act in 1974. The act provided that a person charged with a gun crime would be tried within 7 days of arrest, and, if found guilty, be detained indefinitely subject to release decisions made by a review board. The sentence of the gun court, the review board, and certain divisions of the court were declared unconstitutional, however. This has led to the substitution of life imprisonment for indefinite detention. The violent crimes most often involve offenders aged 18 to 25. Violent crime has increased even in the face of improved socioeconomic conditions in urban areas. Rapid social change, which has produced a breakdown of traditional social roles and institutional controls over behavior, coupled with an increase in the percentage of the young adult population prone to crime, are believed to be primary causes of the violent crime increase. In an effort to increase the effectiveness of rehabilitation in institutions, smaller units are being established, where programs of skill training, counseling, and community participation are emphasized. Documentation and evaluation of various programs and changes have been a problem, largely because of the lack of systematic data collection and analysis. Graphic and tabular data on crime rates are provided, along with four notes.
Index Term(s): Crime Causes; Crime Statistics; Inmate Programs; Jamaica; Social conditions; Violent crime statistics
Note: Earlier draft of this paper was presented in 1976 at the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Conference on 'Crime and Violence in the Caribbean.'
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