Clarion calls for ‘shock treatment’ ban – Eye Witness News


Mr. Editor,

It is disheartening to see the Department of National Security stick together in trying to revive a program whose methods have been sanctioned as ineffective and harmful for nearly two decades now.

The shock treatment is based on the Scared Straight program which was first introduced in the United States in the 1970s as a “hard” way to prevent juvenile delinquency. Scared Straight programs became popular in the United States before they were thoroughly evaluated. However, three decades of subsequent research shows that programs based on Scared Straight approaches are ineffective, counterproductive and expensive.

Not only do these calls not deter children from breaking the law, they sometimes make young people more likely to commit crimes. This may explain why many of the people who attempted to be saved in the original iteration of the ministry’s shock treatment program were lost to violent crime. Since 2011, Scared Straight programs have been funded by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention, and such programs have been banned outright in several states.

In the advent of building New Bahamas, it is imperative that we harness our best talents and resources to address the issues plaguing our society.

Based on the abundance of evidence available on the deleterious effects of “shock treatment”, it is evident that the ministry’s shock treatment program was never properly reviewed by the appropriate field experts prior to its implementation. initial work in 2014, and now seven years later with its reinstatement proposal.

Addressing behavioral problems in children requires a detailed and holistic approach that assesses a child’s development in a number of areas – social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language. Any intervention program that seeks to be effective must meet the individual needs of the child, and this usually begins with meeting the child’s most basic needs first.

Dr Téemar R Carey.

Public officials should be diligent in their efforts to evaluate the services and treatment provided to young people to ensure that public resources are used effectively; useful not harmful; and truly lead to lasting community safety. Therefore, I implore those responsible to examine the plethora of evidence-based programs that have been identified to support the positive development of young people and to find creative ways to implement them within the context of our culture.

In the advent of building New Bahamas, it is imperative that we harness our best talents and resources to address the issues plaguing our society. Therefore, I would like to call on advocates for children – pediatric medical / dental providers, clinical psychologists, educators, social workers, concerned citizens, etc. – actively oppose practices / policies that harm our children and / or violate their rights. It takes a village to raise a child, and we all have a role to play in that village. As a small nation, we simply cannot afford to leave a child behind.


Dr Téemar Carey, DMD, MSEd

Pediatric dentist, educator and advocate for children

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