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Trinidad and Tobago

At-risk and vulnerable youth targeted for crime prevention initiatives

The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBSI) technical working group on crime prevention wrapped up its ninth meeting in the Dominican Republic, last week, committing to specific actions to advance its priorities related to juvenile justice reform, strengthening evidence for crime prevention, community level youth violence prevention and reduction.

Under the theme Youth, Women and Vulnerable Populations Driving Peace and Justice, the meeting issued an Action Statement which identified several actions to advance these priorities, a statement from the CARICOM secretariat said.

With respect to juvenile justice reform, a commitment was given to support criminal justice systems to use more restorative and rehabilitation approaches to juvenile justice. To this end, further refining justice country strategic plans; mobilising resources and implementing monitoring and evaluations mechanisms were identified as required actions to, among other outcomes, increase the use of alternative sentencing; rehabilitate and reintegrate programmes for juvenile offenders and improve policy-juvenile interactions.

On the issue of reducing and preventing youth violence at the community level, a commitment was made to further strengthen the resilience of at-risk communities, particularly youth, focusing on those most likely to be involved in criminal and other risky behaviour. In this context, providing educational, economic and social opportunities informed by the strongest available evidence were identified as future interventions.

With regard to strengthening evidence for crime prevention, a commitment was given to fostering regional cooperation to build capacity to collect, analyse and use reliable data to inform citizen security and social interventions, among others. In this regard, effective data collection through data harmonisation of crime and violence according to international standards, analysis, data sharing and decision making were identified as follow up actions.

The CBSI is a cooperation/collaboration initiative between CARICOM and the United States which is being implemented by the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM_IMPACS). This initiative brings together CARICOM members and the Dominican Republic to: reduce illicit trafficking through programmes which aim from counter-narcotics to combatting the flow of illegal small arms and light weapons; increase public safety and security through programmes aimed at reducing crime and violence to improving border security; and promoting social justice through programmes designed to improve the justice sector, combat government corruption and assist vulnerable populations at risk of recruitment into criminal organisations.

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