Jailing deadbeat Barbadian fathers with murderers, rapists and drug dealers is wrong, helps no one, and should be stopped.
Instead, said Christ Church West, Dr. William Duguid, Government should introduce a work release programme where these individuals would suffer some form of incarceration but still be able to work and support their children.
He also suggested the use of garnishing to get maintenance from delinquent parents. Duguid was speaking in the Lower House this afternoon as members debated a $400,000 supplementary resolution for the establishment of a child maintenance fund. He offered “critical support” to the policy, but said it did not go far enough. The parliamentarian was, however, concerned about fathers being jailed for failing to pay maintenance. “When it comes to maintenance and people having to go to jail or being incarcerated for maintenance it should not be the same level of incarceration that we have now, what it should be is something like a work release programme,” he stated. “A work release programme for delinquent fathers does not put the father out of work, does not stop the child from getting the money, because the father remains employed, but … it takes away some of their social time. “I don’t think that they should be put in the same facility as a drug dealer, a murderer, a rapist and these sort of people because most of these people [delinquent parents] are generally law abiding people, but due to certain circumstances they are unable to make the additional … payments for maintenance. “So when you go and essentially arrest them and put them in a prison and they are socially dislocated some of them never catch back to where they were because now … they have a problem getting new employment,” Duguid added. The BLP spokesman also saw a need for mothers who did not seek child maintenance through the court to get help. “There are hundreds, if not thousands of mothers, I would imagine, who do not receive maintenance and don’t put the fathers in court and maybe we need to be looking at a more holistic policy to give opportunities to even those who don’t even want the humiliation of having to go to a court and say ‘I want the $50 or whatever’, but would still like to have the benefit of access of some sort of maintenance for that child,” he said. “Their children have to eat too and their children have to get clothes too, but just that they don’t want the disgrace of going before a magistrate for $50, so that is an important thing.” (SC)