The University of the West Indies Press
Caribbean Journal of Criminology: Homicides in Jamaica since the Eighteenth Century
Jonathan Dalby
Education & Teaching
Caribbean Journal of Criminology: Homicides in Jamaica since the Eighteenth Century
US$ 10.60
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Using the indictment registers of the assize and circuit courts, prosecution statistics, discussions of individual trials gleaned from Colonial Office correspondence, and the court reports in the newspapers, this paper seeks to (tentatively) estimate the homicide rate in Jamaica before and after emancipation and to investigate why and how Jamaicans killed each other in the half-century or so after the abolition of slavery in 1834. Contemporary elites tended to interpret most criminal offences in implicitly racist terms and viewed violent crime largely as a consequence of the island’s “low state of civilization.” It is argued here, however, that the motives for murder and manslaughter in Jamaica differed little from those elsewhere in the nineteenth century. Until politics, gang warfare and drugs took over in the late twentieth century, most felonious killings were the result of domestic disputes and conflicts over money and property.
Keywords: homicide, Jamaica

eISSN: 0799-4346
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