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Jun 28, 2022

Criminal Justice Professor from U.S. Doing Research in Belize on Recidivism

How much does relapsing into crime occur in Belize? And how much of it has to do with the treatment from people in the justice system, law enforcement and rehabilitation? That’s what is currently under research in Belize. Doctor Terrence Alladin is here from Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. and today he made a presentation to a cross-section of stakeholders, from the Belize Police Department, the Belize Central Prison, and the magistracy, among others. New Five’s Marion Ali stopped in to see how the professor’s interfacing and research can improve this situation in Belize. Here’s her report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

Belize’s recidivism rate is said to be very low – a good reflection of the Belize Central Prison’s and the Kolbe Foundation’s system of treating prisoners. If the interfacing that Criminal Justice Professor, Dr. Terrence Alladin engages in with the people in our justice system proves to be effective, the number of repeat offenders we record as a country is likely to fall even lower.


Dr. Terrence Alladin

Dr Terrence Alladin, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

“Belize is unique in that it has one prison for the entire country. So every inmate that commits a crime in Belize ends up in this prison, so it makes it a lot easier to study. We need to have relationships between the police and the courts and the corrections and the citizens. Citizens need to see that the police is not the enemy and the police need to see that it’s not every person they reach is a suspect. Those are the things that we need to change.”


The only correctional facility in Belize, the Belize Central Prison, has employed the concept that everything is dependent on relationships, and that sometimes means that there is a need for reform.


Virgilio Murillo

Virgilio Murillo, C.E.O., Kolbe Foundation

“You need that human rights approach to dealing with criminality. If you are to change behaviours you have to look at it from a responsible and relationship point of view. So, once the police has a good relationship with the community, then the community is going to cooperate. Our thing is really to try and rehabilitate the offender. That is where our emphasis is on, rather than being punitive. Of course that doesn’t prevent us from disciplining a prisoner if they step out of line.”


The Belize Police Department has drawn regular criticisms for unjustified use of force, or, simply put, police brutality. That is one culture that needs to be changed.


Dr. Richard Rosado

Dr. Richard Rosado, Deputy Commissioner of Police

“We’re soon to launch our multi-sectoral crime prevention and crime control strategic plan and part of it would require police reform and we know there will be a need to address the culture within the Police Department because the new approach we want to go, there will be a need for a cultural change. It is not something that can be fixed overnight.”


The professor’s engagements come through two years of previous work with Galen University, which offers a four-year course in criminal justice.


Dr Eve Aird

Dr Eve Aird, Provost, Galen University

“Dr. Alladin wants to do further research in Belize and we’re collaborating with him and we hope that he will do a sabbatical with us at Galen University next year.”


Marion Ali

“Why did Galen see this so important?”


Dr. Eve Aird

“We recognize that we could, because of our network, and our criminal justice program, we could assist in the process and we recognize that what he’s trying to do is important and it’s something that all Belizeans would value.”


Marion Ali For News Five


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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