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'Criminals do not fear death. They fear being forgotten'

Published:Monday | March 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer

Drawing from his observation as a crime expert for many years, Captain Robert Finzi-Smith says that capital punishment will not work in Jamaica as criminals do not fear death. What they fear is being forgotten.

Finzi-Smith, who is the general manager for safety and security at the University of Technology in St Andrew, was guest speaker at a recent Rotary Club of New Kingston's breakfast meeting.

"If I tell you that I can lock you up permanently, you can't see anybody, you not getting no phone, no TV, no radio - that they fear. In the ghetto, why people write their names on the wall is because they seek recognition. The greatest fear in life for them (criminals) is not death. It's being forgotten," he said.

"We need to create a place where certain people can be forgotten. We need to create laws where these people can be forgotten," he declared.




Finzi-Smith recommended that an effort should be made to build new facilities that are conducive to rehabilitation but will propel criminals to change their thinking and way of life.

"Capital punishment in Jamaica doesn't work for one simple reason. In some communities, a 25-year-old is an elder, so he doesn't have any long-life expectancy. So what they fear is incarceration, permanently, without the ability to have the freedom to do as they please. We need to use areas of the Cockpit Country, build an isolated facility - one way in, one way out - and where they plant their own food," Finzi-Smith told the gathering.

"I find it strange that we say to people, you are hereby sentenced to five years' hard labour. Doing what? How is it that we fighting people to build roads and you have some prisoners sitting back listening to radio?" he asked.