The number of reported criminal cases involving minors in the British Virgin Islands has dropped significantly, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Kim Hollis has said.
Hollis gave that report to the 2019 Standing Finance Committee (SFC) when she appeared before them back in April.
She said: “The total number of juveniles involved in crimes was 35 in 2016, 32 in 2017, and nine in 2018.”
Hollis, whose statements were recorded in the 2019 SFC report published this month, indicated that her office “was of the view that the decrease in juvenile crime in 2018 was partly accountable as a result of the number of young persons that left the territory following the hurricanes in 2017”.
Should police log student delinquency?
During her presentation, SFC member and Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley pointed to the number of student “disturbances” at the Elmore Stoutt High School.
He argued that the Commissioner of Police advised him that they allowed the schools to handle the disturbances rather than logging them to avoid criminalizing the youngsters. However, Dr Wheatley inquired from Hollis whether she endorsed that approach.
In response, the DPP said the “disturbances” should be logged but just for the record-keeping purposes to see whether those juvenile delinquents would become repeat offenders.
She noted that her office did not have the ability to caution first-time offenders but would support having legislation as far as juvenile offenders were concerned.
Govt’s Restorative Justice Programme largely a success
In 2017, then minister responsible for youth and prison Myron Walwyn had reported that the number of minors who re-offend after particpating in government’s Restorative Justice Programme was low.
He said at the time that of the 14 juveniles who were kept out of Her Majesty’s Prison and enrolled in the programme, only two re-offended.
The 2013 initiative was launched to provide an alternative to prison to rehabilitate young offenders and at-risk minors.
In recent times, police made several juvenile arrests for burglary, assaulting a police officer, reckless and negligent act, driving when not covered by third-party risks, and driving without a driver’s license, among other offences.
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