Opposition Senator Crystal Drakes (Picture by Sandy Pitt.)
Opposition Senator Crystal Drakes says with a price tag of over $30 000 a year to house an inmate in HMP Prison Dodds, Barbados has to look at “serious judicial review and reform”.
She is also suggesting Barbadians should engage in self-examination to discover the motivation behind the kind of violence sweeping across the island.
In her contribution to debate on the Offences Against the Person (Amendment) Bill 2018 earlier today, Drakes was worried about the rampant gun violence plaguing Barbados as well as the high level of incarceration at Dodds.
She noted the Barbados Prison Service 2016 report put that figure at the end of December of that year at approximately 919 offenders, and argued because of what it was costing taxpayers to keep prisoners behind bars, “we now cannot simply say lock them up and throw away the key”.
The Opposition Senator commended the Government on moving “towards a more holistic approach to sentencing” in amendments being made to sections of the existing laws.
Government Senator Crystal Haynes supported the Amendment stating Government was taking meaningful action to address the crime situation.
With 950 cases awaiting trial, it was appropriate she said, to have appointed three judges to address the backlog.
“We really have to have a deeper conversation on how we as Barbadians see justice; how we administer it along with enforcement of penalties such as fines, community service, curfews,” Haynes said.
She also suggested restorative and rehabilitative programmes should be discussed “openly and frankly”. (GC)