A popular celebrity American judge offered several suggestions on how the Bahamian criminal justice could be improved when he visited with top officials from the Office of The Attorney General on Friday.
Reality television judge Joe Brown said the government’s Swift Justice initiative is a step in the right direction.
But he said more has to be done to keep young men on the “straight and narrow.”
“You have to focus on educating your people, enlightening and motivating them so that they can develop into good people,” he said.
“I come here with high hopes and I enjoy the inspiration of seeing people working together with manners, ability and understanding. There are some problems that have developed, but I think some of your problems will be cured by those who have decided that it’s time to take back the country so that it’s a safer place.”
Judge Brown, who has visited the country several times, said he is happy to provide any advice that can help with the country’s crime problems.
“I look forward to working with officials here so that The Bahamas can become a shinning beacon in this hemisphere,” he said.
Judge Brown suggested that one of the primary focuses of the government should be to find alternative sentencing options for non-violent offenders.
“He has already anticipated that young men in particular who commit non-violent crimes need alternative forms of sentencing,” Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson told reporters at a press conference held following Judge Brown’s courtesy call.
“We don’t want to put those offenders into prison. We need to find a more creative way to ensure they are still punished as opposed to incarceration. We also need to consider whether they even need to have a criminal record. Do we give people a second chance? Our prime minister is a firm believer of giving people a second chance so this is definitely something we will discuss further and then we will discuss it with the Cabinet and eventually with the people of The Bahamas.”
Following the press conference, the judge met with several lawyers attached to the Attorney General’s Office.
Earlier on Friday he met with Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes.
He also met Prime Minister Perry Christie.
Judge Brown became the first HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American” \o “African-American” African-American prosecutor in the city of Memphis.
He later opened his own law practice before becoming a judge on the State Criminal Court of HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelby_County,_Tennessee” \o “Shelby County, Tennessee” Shelby County, Tennessee.
Judge Brown was thrust into the national spotlight while presiding over HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Earl_Ray” \o “James Earl Ray” James Earl Ray’s last conviction appeal for the assassination of HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.” \o “Martin Luther King, Jr.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
It was during this time that Judge Brown caught the attention of the producers of HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Judy” \o “Judge Judy” Judge Judy.