Congratulations to Marsha-Ann Scott on her successful PhD defence

November 08, 2023

Big congratulations to Marsha-Ann for successfully defending her PhD thesis titled "(Re)forming the Informal Justice System: An Exploratory Look at the Jamaican Garrison’s Brand of Justice.”


The Jamaican garrison has been deemed a hotbed for crime and criminality. What exacerbates the issue of high crime levels is that these communities have been overly criminalized by colonial modes of social control that are embedded in the nature and culture of policing by the nation’s security forces, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). The reality is that garrison communities have been forgotten and discarded by the wider Jamaican society and have had to make their own existence, particularly as it relates to justice. Within these enclaves, the constituents have established informal justice structures that have redefined the socio-political structure of the volatile garrison space. The study provides an assessment of the ways that the social, cultural, and historical contexts shape the types of “justice” that garrison communities enact. The underpinning assumption is that the effectiveness of any crime abatement strategy hinges on an acknowledgement of the unique history, culture and the elements that brought the garrison environment and its informal justice system (IJS) into existence and how this has affected the redefinition/transformation of the space the garrison dweller occupies. The study provides an outline for how the residents of three Jamaican garrison communities discuss and act on the issues of justice, particularly personal security, in the absence of state resources and complicates the narratives about garrisons and their populations by demonstrating the ways in which they are making life in the context of racial, economic, and colonial oppression, and how this life-making can be instructive in reshaping justice systems, especially within a Caribbean context.

Scott's future aspirations include impacting the lives of those she comes across in a meaningful way, and we do not doubt she will achieve this goal.

"Having completed the program feels so surreal," says Scott. "The reality has not fully set it yet. I am pretty proud of myself, though. I did it!"

Congratulations Marsha-Ann, on this great achievement!