Solicitor General’s office still unstaffed

POSTED: 04/16/12 1:12 PM

St. Maarten – Solicitor General Taco Stein is currently working on his own, while efforts are undertaken to staff his office. He expects this process to be completed sooner, rather than later and announced recently that he’ll make his first court appearance on Monday.
Even though he’s been living in Aruba, Stein has noted the increase in crime in St. Maarten. He even indicated that there’s much more crime here than in Aruba. There was no quantification of the difference. Stein has also noted the numerous challenges in the justice chain, including the lack of prison space.
“If this is correct for them to complain, I do not know since I have not spoken yet to the Chief of the Prison Rudsel Ricardo but I am expecting to meet with him to discuss these problems in an effort to better the situation,” Stein said.
Later he’d add, “Let’s not forget that the justice system alone cannot make St. Maarten a safe place since we can only do so much. Responsibility for crime and safety is much larger than that and also the social structure of the society. There must be enough jobs, enough schools; the youths must have a good life in this country. It is easier to prevent crimes from happening and there are fewer criminals we could feel a lot safer which would result in fewer prison space which could be described as a win, win situation.”

Stein is clear that prisoners must be prepared to re-enter society and opined that working with prisoners to determine how they can move forward is better for them than having them followed by a probation officer or having them wear ankle bracelets.
“Education is an important part but putting things in perspective is also important. If a person comes out of prison with the relevant educational skills and is unable to find a job they will not be happy and bound to fall back into the life of crime. Employers must also recognize these facts since these reformed prisoners have learnt a skill and should be given a chance to get a job,” the solicitor general said.

Stein, who is also the acting Attorney General, plans to work closely with the judicial chain and particularly with Justice Minister Roland Duncan.

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