The Wolfe Report: 30 years on
11:15 am, Wed April 19, 2023
Former Chief Justice of Jamaica Lensley Wolfe died on Tuesday. Among his many contributions to national life was the leadership he provided as Chairman of the NATIONAL TASK FORCE ON CRIME, which submitted its Report in 1993, thirty years ago.
Below is a summary of the recommendations from the Task Force Report, commonly known as The Wolfe Report:
Target programmes at High Risk Communities through measures such as formation of a comprehensive and holistic Integrated Development Programme linking various government programmes dealing with issues including micro-enterprise and AIDS prevention, sewage disposal and dispute resolution.
Identification of target communities to serve as pilots for a comprehensive programme.
Utilise existing Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to unite and coordinate with several other community based groups wherever this is possible, rather than assuming primary responsibility for the programme within a given community.
Train community orqanizers, “…to deal with such issues as organising communities, developing leadership, fund raising and dispute resolution.
Develop financial instruments to provide resources for development in high risk communities
Use Dispute Resolution to find peaceful means of resolving conflict.
Establish a Leadership Development Programme to “develop a cadre of bright, responsible
youngsters who possess the vision, skills and confidence and who can provide the core for a brighter future.”
Develop Family Life Education and Family Planning Programmes to target those communities with the highest incidence of teenage pregnancies.
Community Policing: Training of both the police and citizens in community policing, equipping police with techniques for good station/community relations and involving communities in the operations of local stations.
Early Childhood Education: Expand the basic school programme to target a much larger population of 3 - 6 year olds, to train teachers at this level and to ensure proper nutrition at this stage of development is considered of critical importance in developing a more compassionate society.
Gender Issues: Develop a sub-component of existing or planned programmes focusing on positive male image, dealing with such issues as how to succeed, responsibility, respect for self and others, relationships and dispute resolution. Also, enact a Paternity Law detailing the responsibilities of fathers towards their children.
Depiction of Violence: Develop a protocol involving media houses and cinemas on the one hand and government on the other to ensure no depiction of brutality on front pages of newspapers or in television news, less showing of movies that depict lurid violence and which romanticize violence, adherence to strict age controls for entry to the cinema, no showing of violent film previews at movies approved for General or Parental Guidance screening or on television before 10:00 p.m., a public service programme in all media to inform the public of the effects of violence on children.
Establish a programme against guns and violence, utilising a "carrot and stick" approach. "It should include a number where information on weapons can be given in confidence and the JCF and JDF working together on a major operation to find illegal arms."
Shelter Policies: Implement programmes to address the need of housing and infrastructure.
A large percentage of NHT contributors cannot benefit from NHT loans because they are too
poor. Significant grants or services must be made available to this population from this
Improve infrastructure in densely populated areas, where sewage, water, garbage collection and adequate toilet facilities are essential to the maintenance of a healthy population.
Establish a programme to enable squatters to obtain security of tenure. “It has been observed that once persons own their residence the maintenance of the structure and pride that they take in their community improves dramatically. Further, government must develop more innovative settlement policies to meet the need of the poorest and thereby prevent squatting.”
Develop a mixed income community as a pilot project with a group of willing householders, the objective being to create an environment where communication and collaboration between different classes can be achieved.
Design housing schemes to encourage a sense of community, fostering communication between Households.
Transportation System: “The majority of Jamaican who are dependent on public transportation can attest to the major deficiencies in the system. The overcrowding provides an environment where rudeness, indiscipline, general lack of respect and crime flourish. Public transportation is another important stress factor for the average Jamaican. An efficient and effective public transportation system must be considered a priority for civilized society.”
A management audit of government-run children's homes, places of safety and Remand Centres
should be undertaken. Recommendations to improve conditions in these institutions should be given priority attention.
A National Youth Service requiring all high school graduates to give one year of service should be re-implemented.
Develop a programme to address the needs of street children and to stem the population of street children.
Develop Community Councils to involve citizens in making decisions pertaining to their neighbourhoods.
Political Violence: “Political violence remains a matter of deep concern. What is required is a continuous re-affirmation by politicians to non-violence, a disassociation from gunmen and the expulsion of party members who refuse to comply with a strict code of ethics for politicians. Benefits for communities must not be channelled through persons who are known to practise or encourage violent confrontation. Political candidates and representatives need to set an example not only when the limelight is shining on them, but more importantly when interacting with their communities.”
Crime Prevention Planning: Develop a programme to integrate crime prevention planning into socio-economic planning at the stage of policy formulation.
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