In 2018/2019, through strategic partnerships, advocacy and deliberate operational planning, the Institute of Criminal Justice and Security (ICJS) continued its work to highlight issues of crime, security and justice in the Caribbean.
The University of the West Indies and University of Leicester International Summer School established June 2019 saw the first edition of The UWI/UoL International Summer School successfully rolled-out allowing UWI students to participate in a week-long intensive programme at the UoL. The result of a partnership between UoL and The UWI via the ICJS and the Institute of Culture Studies (ICS), the programme targets postgraduate students and early career researchers from the Caribbean and the UK with an interest in global studies. It is delivered by academics from both institutions. Students from the UoL will visit a campus of The UWI in June 2020. Dr. Sonjah Stanley-Niaah, Director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies and Dr. Michael Bucknor, Senior Lecturer lead the project at The UWI.
The Caribbean Journal of Criminology (CJC), an annual publication of the ICJS, launched its e-commerce platform in October 2018. This makes the CJC readily accessible to readers across the globe by subscription. It is presently the only Caribbean journal which focuses on understanding crime in the region. Despite a Caribbean focus, the CJC welcomes contributions from writers outside of the region. Published in April 2019, the latest issue interrogates matters of crime, gender and sexuality in the Anglophone Caribbean. A welcomed grant from the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Graduate Studies and Research permitted the continued publication of the journal.
Professor Anthony Harriott, Director ICJS visited the University of Amsterdam (UvA) from October 23 to November 15, 2018. During the visit he served as a member of an examination panel for a PhD candidate whose research on the commodification of violence and poverty in Trench Town, Kingston was facilitated by the ICJS. Professor Harriott also participated in a panel discussion, research seminars and explored opportunities for collaboration with colleagues at UvA and the University of Leiden. Agreement was also brokered for project to examine the use of commissions of enquiry to bring about police reform and transformation.
In November 2018, Professor Anthony Harriott visited the University of Leicester (UoL) to present at a conference on Representations of Caribbean Organised Crime. The visit also provided an opportunity to probe possibilities for a programme of research that would support police reform in Jamaica as well as joint teaching by UoL and UWI faculty at the MSc level for an enriched student experience.
Between October and November 2018, ICJS’ Research Fellow served as an advisor for the development of an Advocacy and Action Agenda for Youth Violence Prevention in the Caribbean. This initiative was spearheaded by the Community, Family and Youth Resilience Programme (CFYR), a partner of USAID. The youth violence prevention strategy has been embraced by stakeholders including CARICOM. In January 2019, ICJS’ Director and Research Fellow both participated in a Caribbean Summit on Youth Violence in Guyana.
At the invitation of USAID, ICJS’ Research Fellow served as a member of the Clarendon Violence Prevention Committee. This ongoing initiative has brought together representatives of different agencies key to the design of social interventions and opportunity targeting young people and their movement away from delinquency and crime.
From September 2018 and May 2019 the ICJS’ Research Fellow worked along with researchers in Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to develop standard features that are characteristics of state intervention for security. The networking resulted in learning exchanges in El Salvador and Guatemala and the production of the book Connections: Safer Spaces for Women and Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean published in November 2019.
The Institute’s Director served as a member of both the Police (Civilian) Oversight Authority (PCOA) and the Police Services’ Commission (PSC), responsible for senior appointments in the JCF. Both groups fall under the Ministry of National Security and operates separate from the police force to ensure accountability, adherence to policy guidelines and observance of proper policing standards. The PCOA and PSC are useful sites for advocating for police transformation.
UWI Advocates for a Two-Party Consensus on Evidence-Based Crime Control Policy in Jamaica within the Nation’s Political Arena: ICJS, through its Director, continues to participate in the civil society-led Working Group which was established to help to bring about a two-party consensus on evidence-based crime control policy in Jamaica.
The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) entered into partnership arrangements with The UWI to establish a Caribbean Military Academy (CMA). The Institute dedicatedly assisted with the development of a new PhD programme in Leadership (and Strategic Studies). This effort is one way of giving meaning to the joint UWI-JDF agreement.
ICJS, through its Director contributed to numerous conferences and meetings which were convened by international organisations for the purposes of setting their research agendas and funding priorities. These conferences included: the Caribbean Conference on Youth Violence Prevention which was funded by USAID; Conference on Violence and Toxic Masculinity which was hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); and a similar research agenda-setting conference by the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).
Between January and July 2019 ICJS hosted three researchers – Robert Rivera, University of California; Natalie Ward, University of Amsterdam and Francesca Pilo, Université libre de Bruxelles. All three were engaged in work on restorative justice, police accountability and governance in Jamaica. While at the Institute they were supervised by Professor Harriott. This kind of research support served to deepen The UWI’s global connections and lends for greater evidence-based work in Caribbean criminology.
The continued upsurge in crime and violence trends regionally, the deficits in security leadership and the flailing financial health of The UWI require openness to great change. It was against this background that the leadership at ICJS hosted a strategic meeting in September 2018. Staff collaborated on an operational plan for a programme of work for the next five years which is to include training opportunities.