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Penalties for Youths Violating Curfew

The Safety Committee reported on penalties given out by the resident Magistrate on curfew offenders for San Pedro Town. Magistrate Earl Jones had stated earlier that these are family matters, which are usually dealt with by the Community Rehab Department.

Parents and youths are now being given notice that first offenses against the curfew are usually dealt with fairly quickly by the Magistrate in which most of the children are given to the parents with the understanding that a fine must be paid if the youth is brought back for another offense.

If the youth commits another offense, then the parent pays the fine or serves jail time. In instances where it is uncertain whether the parents can control the youth, the Community Rehab Department then steps in and investigates thoroughly all circumstances surrounding the youth.

The Representative must then determine what is best for the youth, the family and for society. In worst cases, the youth is sent to the Youth Hostile until his/her 18th birthday, when he is released. This will be on permanent record and then if another crime is committed after his release, he/she will be tried as an adult. This procedure falls under the Juvenile Offense Act. Community service is an option for first time offenses as well, but this must be asked for by the parent or guardian.

The Community Rehab Department’s representative for San Pedro is Mr. Moody, but he is stationed in Belize City. It would probably be best if he were a resident representative or at least be on the island dealing with cases two to three times per week. In the past month, there have been many youths sentenced to the Youth Hostile. In related news, San Pedro’s resident Magistrate Earl Jones has done an incredible job dealing with our troubled youths with the help of the Community Rehab Department’s representative.

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