Jamaican criminals have doled out more than $53 million in fines to the government since the start of this year.
The figure is a representation of the total sanctions imposed in all courts except the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court, and was tabulated by the Criminal Records Office of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). It was issued in a news release last night.
According to the release, some 4,362 Jamaicans, 93 per cent of whom are males, were sentenced to spend between three days to life in prison, giving up an accumulated 4,960 years of freedom.
The Home Circuit Court in Kingston and St Andrew, the release said, recorded a total of 319 convictions. Of that number, 50 per cent were arrested for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, while 16 per cent were convicted for sexual offences. Murder, assault, wounding, robbery and shooting each accounted for six per cent, while the other convictions were for manslaughter, abduction, and fraud.
The statistics prompted Police Commissioner Owen Ellington to caution young Jamaicans about the implications of entering the criminal underworld.
"As a father it is painstaking to see the number of young Jamaicans with brilliant minds who now possess a criminal record because of early involvement in crime when their time could be spent on productive activities," said Ellington. He warned young Jamaicans to be mindful of the implications of crime on their career development.
At least 306 persons have been convicted in the St James Resident Magistrate's Court, reflecting total prison time of 653 years and more than $23 million in fines. Sixty per cent of the conviction came from drug-related crimes, while 10 per cent were for gun crimes, and 25 for fraud, larceny, assault, wounding and robbery. The others included persons who were arrested for stealing electricity.
The St Catherine and Manchester Resident Magistrate's courts recorded 524 and 407 convictions respectively, and some $6 million in fines. In St Catherine, wounding/assault and drug crimes each accounted for 30 per cent of the convictions, while the others were for larceny, fraud, rape, illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, and breaches of the Copyright Act.
The majority of the convictions in Manchester were for drug-related crimes, while the others: 13 per cent for assault and wounding, 11 per cent for larceny, seven per cent for fraud, and nine per cent for carnal abuse, gun-related charges, and robbery, accounted for the other convictions.
Sixty-four per cent of the persons convicted in Trelawny breached the dangerous drugs act, while 15 per cent were convicted for fraud, forgery, embezzlement and obtaining money by false pretence. Seven per cent were found guilty of praedial larceny and another 14 per cent were convicted for wounding, assault, rape and manslaughter. In St Ann, 268 persons were arrested and fines amounting to some $2 million were issued, while in Westmoreland 454 persons were convicted and a total of $610,000 in fines issued.
Most of the convictions in St Ann were for drug possession, 14 per cent were for wounding and assault, five per cent were for possession of illegal firearm and ammunition, 15 per cent were for larceny, while an additional six per cent were for rape, malicious destruction of property, manslaughter and robbery. About 60 per cent were arrested in Westmoreland for drug-related crimes, 20 per cent were given the book for wounding, nine per cent for larceny, and 11 per cent were sent to prison for house break-ins, fraud and rape.