Uncontrollable label must end


After yesterday’s story in the Jamaica Gleaner about the government’s labeling of children as “uncontrollable,” it seems a good time to link to a post I did on the topic FIVE YEARS AGO. At that time, I had just done a piece with a 18 Degrees North about a young girl who had been put in an adult prison for running away from home. (You can also watch the show by going to my post, there is a link at the bottom.) She was deemed uncontrollable. It is a catch-all label that judges can use to gain control of a child they decide needs state care and intervention. Unfortunately, a lot of these children end up in prison, which contravenes a United Nations convention, to which Jamaica is a signatory. According to the Gleaner, the practice is still going on, despite a promise at the time to end it. It is unconscionable that this is still happening. It does more harm to the children than good, and destroys what little faith they may have in the adults around them, likely sending them back on the streets eventually. It costs nothing but political capital for legislators to change this. They must act now.

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