June 10, 2021
NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames said the Bahamas Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee has expunged the criminal records of 28 people to date, with 85 applications pending.
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Amendment) 2015, people who have committed murder, manslaughter, treason, armed robbery, rape or possessed dangerous drugs with the intent to supply cannot have their records expunged. But after five years most of the others are eligible if they are first-time offenders or were younger than 21 at the time of their first conviction.
Mr Dames said the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee has referred 24 cases to the Prerogative of Mercy Committee for its consideration.
Mr Dames said under the Minnis administration, 209 inmates serving time at the Department of Correctional Services have been granted clemency.
“This is the largest number of clemencies ever given under any government,” he said. “Additionally, the POM Committee is preparing to meet in a month’s time to consider another 200 applications for requests for clemency.
“Our government’s approach is simple as it relates to legislative implementation. We are of the view that while laws are made to punish those in violation of society’s norms, for the most part, it should also take into consideration that with proper intervention and oversight, persons capable of redeeming themselves, do deserve a second chance. Mr Speaker, this Minnis-led government, believes in second-chances.”
Former Police Commissioner Paul Farquharson heads the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee. In 2019, he told The Tribune thousands could be eligible for clean records through the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee, especially those convicted of crimes of drug possession.
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