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Criminals to get a second chance


Criminals could soon be given the opportunity to turn over new leaves – their past indiscretions thrown into the sea of forgetfulness.

This is because Sir Vincent Beache, Chairman of the National Commission on Crime Prevention (NCCP) believes that the stigma of past crimes should not stain a person indefinitely.

“If a young man commits a crime when he is 20 then when he is 35, if he had lived a clean life since then, that should not be on his police record any more,” said Sir Vincent.{{more}}

Sir Vincent, the chairman of the 19-member commission, said that criminals must be given the opportunity to start over if they show the right attitude. He noted that a stained police record is a tremendous hindrance to someone who is trying to clean up their act.

Sir Vincent said that the practice of erasing criminal records after a specified number of years of impeccable law abidance is practiced in several countries, and the NCCP will be making proposal to that effect to Cabinet in the not to distant future.

He was speaking at the launching of the NCCP booklet entitled “Building a Culture of Peace” earlier this week. The booklet presented strategic planning for the prevention of crime .It addressed the need to reach out to parents and small children in an effort to break the crime cycle.

Sir Vincent, who is also the National Security Advisor, commented on the recent controversial court ruling where a convicted rapist was placed on bond rather than jailed. Sir Vincent said that such judgments could make the police officers lose motivation in doing their jobs.

“After you work hard to bring a criminal to justice, when you see them get only a slap on their wrist it could be very tough on the police officers,” said Sir Vincent.

The NCCP was established in February, 2004, in response to an upsurge in criminal activities in the society. Its major objective was to educate the populace on crime prevention techniques and it is directed by former Superintendent of Police Jenita Lewsi.

She said that the NCCP committee has been performing a labour of love and is seeing the fruits. Lewis said that there has been a decrease in criminal activities in schools since they started visiting and counseling the children.

The NCCP has also been instrumental in the formation of neighborhood watches, an integral part of its crime prevention strategy, which is outlined in the booklet.