Crime reduction survey has merit

There are lots of people with good intentions in the Cayman Islands when it comes social programmes aimed at fighting crime.

Problem is, there are too many groups and agencies without one clear agenda for the good of the country in whole.

The Observer on Sunday today is reporting that there are more than 130 government-run and non-profit programmes that target crime reduction and community development in the Cayman Islands.

Basically there are too many projects with money spread too thinly over too many agencies, reads a summary of the Cayman islands Crime Reduction Strategy.

The unstructured nature of the programmes in place isn’t really doing anyone much good and is costing the country millions of dollars each year.

What the programmes need is someone to oversee all the efforts of both government and private sector groups.

The groups should not have to be competing for funding. They should be working together to ensure effectiveness of the programmes. If there is too much redundancy, some of the programmes should be ended or the mission changed.

The coordinator should be empowered to make those decisions and changes as necessary.

That coordinator also needs to ensure each group that remains is kept accountable; that performance measures are in place and measurements taken to determine effectiveness.

What we don’t need is another layer of bureaucracy in an already overloaded playing field of people with good intentions who aren’t really helping matters.

While the coordinator is culling the redundant agencies, an honest effort needs to be made of reducing the instances of re-offending or recidivism, particularly among young offenders.

We also need to begin educating our children in primary and secondary school about drug and alcohol abuse because more than 70 per cent of those we are housing in our prison system have a drug or alcohol problem.

We also have to recognise that the people in the prison system will, in most cases, get out of jail eventually. Programmes must be in place to help them prepare for the re-entrance into society. Prisoners returning to society need to have stable housing and employment.

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