An overly punitive environment in relation to sexual offences will have negative consequences if there are no institutions to tutor persons in relationships, anger management, etc

Dear Editor,

I refer to the article ‘New sexual offences bill can be conduit for justice overhaul’ (SN, April 28). Two issues mentioned in the article above invite immediate comment: 1. “…encourage a higher rate of conviction…”; 2. “The act also provides for training of ancillary staff such as probation and welfare personnel…”

At points 4, 5 and 6 in the online article ‘An Initial Assessment of the Stamp It Out Consultation’ ( http:// ww.scribd. com/doc/30423005/An-Initial-Assessment-of-the-Stamp-It-Out-Consultation) we brought the Minister’s attention to the fallacy of “just going after convictions” and not adopting a holistic approach to solving “man-issues” or “issues affecting men” in the current socio-economic context. The Minister anticipated no new prisons to go with an increase of convictions by 60%, neither did she or her ministry anticipate hiring more psychiatrists (as distinct from low-level “probation and welfare personnel”).

We cannot just lock up a certain percentage of our male population and expect that the underlying causes of some of their problems will just go away, and neither can we madly dash towards a society that will become extremely litigious.

An overly punitive environment will surely have its own negative societal consequences if there are no counterbalancing institutions to mentor/tutor persons at the relationship-skills, anger-management, parenting and responsibility levels. Did the Minister or her ministry consider the establishment of a ‘Men’s Affairs Bureau,’ however conceptualized.

Three final questions: Where are the new ‘Ken Danns’ of the sociological profession in Guyana? Or is all research now being conducted from an advocacy perspective? How many, exactly, of the public’s submissions and recommendations to the Ministry of Human Services were actually incorporated into the final Bill?

Yours faithfully,
Roger Williams

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