The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$20 million loan to help reduce crime and violence in the Bahamas, targeting at risk youths and strengthening institutional capabilities of the justice system, among other actions.
The Washington-based financial institution said the Bahamas has seen a steady increase in its crime and violence rates, with a homicide rate of 31.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013.
Many victims are young and male, and killed with firearms, said the IDB, adding that violence is especially acute in the island of New Providence, where the capital, Nassau, is located, “with high rates of murders, armed robberies and rapes.”
The IDB said recent statistics points to a prevalence of violence to solve inter-personal and community disputes, especially among youth.
It said this is occurring in a context of high unemployment rates (30.8 percent in 2014 among 15-24 year olds), slow court systems and high rates of recidivism.
The project comprises four components. The first component seeks to improve behaviors for non-violent conflict resolution in New Providence by including differentiated evidence-based interventions to address social norms that promote the acceptance of violence, the IDB said.
It said the second component aims to help at-risk youth find jobs through training and employability programs.
The third component seeks to strengthen the justice administration system to better prosecute and sentence crimes by including, among other, an integrated electronic system for case management and the introduction of innovative dispute resolutions mechanisms, the IDB said.
It said the fourth component seeks to better help reintegrate offenders to society through activities such as the design and implementation of a comprehensive rehabilitation model and a curriculum built on evidence-based practices.