By Alfa · Feb 11, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    All narcotics, inclusive of cocaine, should be decriminalised and legalised.

    This from criminologist Prof Maureen Cain, when she spoke on the topic
    "Criminogenesis and the War Against Crime" at the UWI Centre for Gender and
    Development Studies. Her contribution was from a paper she presented at a
    workshop on Women, Crime and Globalisation, Feminist Perspectives for the
    New Millennium, in Spain last year.

    Prof Cain said that in the fight against the drug trade, western nations
    have opted for a demand reduction strategy, in spite of increasingly
    persuasive evidence that organised narcotics trading generates both more
    and new forms of violence.

    Legalisation, she said, would have more certain consequences like, "a
    massive drop in price and a movement out of drugs to a more lucrative
    trading opportunities by organised crime."

    "Organised violence would decline and low level pushers who put pressure on
    children and young people would become redundant.

    She said as it is narcotics like cocaine is a "valuable commodity".

    "It makes money so guns can be bought. I cannot think of any other way to
    bring the price down. The only way is to legalise it."

    With the legalisation she said the money that is presently spent on crime
    control and keeping people in prison can be redirected to other areas.

    "Initially there will be an increase in use and cost, but eventually money
    will be saved on that health problem of violence. Violence is a health

    She said if decriminalised, a person needing a "treatment" can have his
    "fix" without having to steal and for those in the upper level of the trade
    it will no longer be lucrative.

    Asked about the increasing violence among young people, she said it should
    not be assumed that the person is right about children becoming more
    violent. Prof Cain said before she left Trinidad she was worried since it
    was always being said that Caribbean youths were problematic.

    "I was worried that by constantly being told so, they would become a problem."

    Also the role of women influencing their male partners to commit crime was
    raised by a senior police officer .

    He said often when there is a concert a number of unemployed women are seen
    visiting the beauty parlour getting their hair and nails done, "and they
    work nowhere."

    He said it is possible that men "put down the jobs" to cater to their
    companions needs.

    Responding to the question of the Gender Studies Department Dr Rhoda
    Reddock admitted that there could be a link. She said in this society men
    are viewed as economic providers and when his partner looks good, "his
    image is upheld."

    She said because of polarisation there is a demand for "conspicuous
    consumption", and it's the man's duty to provide. She said for those
    reasons men who come out of prison are not encouraged to get a woman soon
    after their release.

    She said unless there is a societal change where women are not viewed as
    the dependent and men the providers the situation will be the same.

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