Discuss substance abuse and criminal behaviour among juvenile offenders in Barbados.
Substance abuse: A reason for criminal behaviour or a coping mechanism for misguided youth.
“A kid? I smoke, I snort, I’ve killed and robbed, I’m a man!” (City of God, 2002)
The use and abuse of illegal substances is believed to have a considerable influence on the criminal behaviour of juvenile offenders as it encourages erratic, impulsive behaviour and deviance; this is no different in Barbados where a great majority of the inhabitants of the male juvenile prison are charged with drug possession and drug related offences. There are nearly twice as many boys in the juvenile prisons than there are girls (J.Nurse, Superintendent, Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, personal interview, December 2007); the frequency of drug related offences for female juvenile offenders in Barbados is low therefore the focus will be particularly on male juvenile offenders. The question as to why illegal substances are so popular with today’s youth must be answered in order to fully explain why criminal behaviour is exhibited especially in boys aged 13-17. The most popular and easily accessed drug used by adolescents in Barbados is Marijuana, other illegal substances, such as cocaine and heroin are present but their popularity is not as widespread as the cost is significantly greater, crack, a combination of cocaine and baking soda, is relatively cheap but is not as widely used as marijuana (Barbados Focus Study, 2002). It should be noted that the majority of charged drug offences are marijuana related with male juvenile offenders in Barbados.
Most heterosexual families when expecting a baby value having a boy over a girl as it is a sign of manliness and fertility to produce a male child, however in the early stages of development boys are not challenged as much as girls are mentally, parents would allow their sons to be play outside while the daughters are inside...