T&T AG: Gang leaders stand bail for poor to commit more crime
(Trinidad Express) Inequality in the bail system is allowing gang leaders to stand bail for poor people who then have to commit crimes to pay back their bail money, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has said.
The bail system was archaic, he said, with either money or unencumbered title deeds to property required and “most young fellows committing crime on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder…can’t meet those bail conditions”.
He said on most occasions they are either incarcerated or they get a friend to pay a bailor with an unencumbered deed. He noted on both accounts it led to “disastrous consequences”, and they either went to jail and were taught a life of crime or had to find money to pay the bailor.
“The gang leader comes, he pays the bailor, he takes you out and he inspires loyalty to himself and to the gang. So when you go, you go back into the bosom…of the loving gang leader who cared enough to protect you from going to prison,” he said.
He continued: “And then…the gang leader says to him ‘you know chief, I happy you out and ting, they would’ve do you all kind of wickedness, but it eh have nothing like a free lunch. Is time to go to wuk’.”
Ramlogan said the offenders had to now commit further crime to pay back that money and also to hire a good lawyer, which spurs on even more crime.
He noted that first offenders met hardened criminals in jail, and that is why people say it is a “revolving door justice system”, and to stop recidivism (freed offenders returning to jail) electronic monitoring in the first instance will help keep people out of prison.
He made the comments during his Senate contribution to the Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) Bill on Friday at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.