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Caribbean Journal of Education

Presentation Abstract: Understanding Violence Prevention in the Jamaican Educational System

Publication Date: 
April 2016

Many perpetrators of violence in Jamaica are children and youth. In 2005, of 824 incidents of major crime, 10 per cent were committed by children aged 12–15, and 90 per cent were committed by children 16–20 (Constabulary Communication Network, 2005). These data suggest that latency age and mid-adolescent boys 15-19 are at risk for violence and are a seriously underserved population. Latency age boys are singled out as it would be useful to address the needs of all of these children, but particularly boys, before they get to adolescence where it would be more difficult to implement behavioural change. Simultaneously, one must also intervene with the 15- to 19- year-old age cohort using specialized in-school and after-school behaviour modification programmes. In 2006 the Department of Corrections reported that 21 per cent of girls were in need of care and protection, 17 per cent were deemed to exhibit uncontrollable behaviour, 4 per cent were remanded into custodial care for wounding while with boys, 12 per cent were remanded for wounding, 11 per cent for dangerous drugs and 12 per cent for breaking and entering/stealing. In 2009 though, more boys were arrested for wounding, and more girls were arrested in 2008 for weapon possession than in previous years. For the academic year 2011–2012 the Ministry of Education released statistics that showed that there were 1,288 reported incidents of violence in Jamaican schools including “915 fights, 160 robberies and three murders” (Edwards-Kerr, 2013).

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