Editorial DH: Better, not worse

Reading about the “Dollar Store robbers” in Thursday’s paper didn’t exactly make most people cheerful. Here were four youths between 17 and 21 years old who allegedly committed not one, but up to a half a dozen armed robberies.

The apparent ringleader said he needed to pay bills, but that’s a poor excuse. There are lots of ways one can at least try to earn some money with an honest day’s work.

No fewer than 20 people on both sides of the island reportedly had fallen victim to this group. A woman was stabbed and the others easily could have been hurt too, or for that matter killed.

One of suspects claimed he only used a toy water pistol. Even if this were true, it doesn’t make such an assault less scary or traumatic for those concerned, who obviously had to assume the gun was real.

The attorneys pleaded with the judge to consider the age of their clients, arguing that their lives had just started. However, the sheer number of repeat offences involved indicates they already may be well on the road to becoming repeat offenders.

It’s actually pretty frustrating to see so many local youngsters end up on the wrong path and often ultimately in prison. Moreover, a majority of them seems to go right back to the same thing once they are released after serving a sentence.

Curaçao faces a similar problem, according to that country’s Police Chief Commissioner Mauricio Sambo. He said on Thursday that the culprits are getting ever younger and tend to commit what are called “atrakos” there over and over.

This “revolving door justice” system urgently needs to be addressed. In addition to preventing students from becoming dropouts and offering enhanced prospects to especially high school graduates, rehabilitating first-time offenders is the key.

Up to now the House of Detention at Pointe Blanche is very much just that, not really a so-called “correctional institution” where inmates are (re)educated and receive enough social guidance to help them change their ways.

Make no mistake; investing in the latter is in the best long-term interest of the entire community and certainly no luxury. The whole idea should be that they come out better than they went in, not worse.
Source: Daily Herald
Better, not worse