Editorial: Overcrowding

POSTED: 03/17/14 6:39 PM

The news that the Pointe Blanche prison is overcrowded and that some convicts and suspects had to be released is disturbing. It raises important issues and important questions, none of whose answers are comforting.

What is the core of the problem? Is it that the society has outgrown the prison system? Clearly the answer is yes. But what is the right size for our prison system, and at what cost to taxpayers? And is prison alone the only solution? Obviously not.

The Caribbean and Latin America now have the unenviable position of being regions with the highest per capita crime in the world. It is clearly not merely a local problem isolated to St. Maarten. So long as the region itself is socially at risk, St. Maarten will be at risk because of its relative wealth compared to many other islands.

Its judicial infrastructure, as is demonstrated, will be overwhelmed. This is a serious problem and will need the complete attention of all stakeholders to create a viable long term solution.


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