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Justice in Jamaica

Monday, April 30, 2007 by Slaughter Development

When Horace Harding pled guilty to a serious traffic offense, he accepted his fate and served a 30-day sentence in prison. Unfortunately, the system designed to record his compliance with the sentence took several weeks to catch up. Harding was then picked up by the police, and because of the processing delay, could not prove he had already cleared the warrant. The slow pace of bureacracy sent Horace Harding to jail twice for only one crime.

Barbara Gayle’s expose on the justice system in Jamica reveals a combination of corruption, incompentence and tragedy. The case of Horace Harding demonstrates that an inefficient system does not save time, but it can also cause devastating errors. The interplay of court documents, police warrants, arrest records and sentencing requires careful analysis to ensure fairness. One source explained that these issues impact the entire system, noting that:

Three weeks after he filed a suit in the Supreme Court Registry, the file could not be found. After waiting there for more than an hour while the staff searched for it, he left saying that when it was found he would return for the hearing, which was scheduled in chambers for that day.

The island nation of Jamaica is ranked as “medium” on the United Nations Human Development Index and receives about $10 million in foreign aid from the United States. Yet even in offices, factories and government offices of highly-developed countries, stories such as these do not sound implausible. Productive, effective procedures are the hallmark of good business and great service. We all know people like Horace Harding who have been treated unfairly by some broken or maladaptive system.

If you are concerned about the quality of process in your organization, or if you want to find ways to improve they way you conduct business, contact Slaughter Development. Our team helps companies and non-profits analyze and improve operations for the benefit of all stakeholders.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

“La Dolce Vita” of Waiting - In Prato, Italy, it sometimes takes so long for the government to process residence renewal permits that by the time they are ready to be picked up, they have already expired. Read on »
Less than Due Process - Police in Queensland, Australia, are releasing some criminals on bail rather than holding them in custody. The new computer records system is so slow and convoluted, officers are even reluctant to make arrests for fear of having to use the application. Read on »
University to State: Consolidate! - A Ball State University study explains how local government reform could save Indiana taxpayers $620 billion each year. The evidence is forty years of data on consolidation. Read on »
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