The Informal Justice System in Garrison Constituencies

Social and Economic Studies 61: 2 (2012): 51-72

23 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2013

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

The informal justice system of "garrison constituencies" in inner-city areas of Jamaica undermines the rule of law in the country.This alternative justice system has not received much scholarly attention. In this study, which attempts to fill the void of primary data on "garrison law and order", participant observation, individual interviews and focus groups revealed that the dons tried the "cases" reported and "shooters" were used to mete out punishment in the informal justice system. Police informers, renegade shooters and borrowers who refuse to repay the dons were executed. Switching party allegiance led to expulsion from the community. Since the demise of the West Kingston dons by law enforcement, some residents have formally reported crimes. The state must use this opportunity to support these residents, reassert its authority in the other eleven garrison constituencies and outperform the dons with effective public policies, thereby making them redundant.

Suggested Citation

Charles, Christopher and Beckford, Orvllle, The Informal Justice System in Garrison Constituencies (2012). Social and Economic Studies 61: 2 (2012): 51-72. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2372170

Christopher Charles (Contact Author)

University of the West Indies ( email )

Kingston
Kingston 7
Mona, Mona Kingston 7
Jamaica

Orvllle Beckford

Independent

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