Drug treatment courts under discussion
STAKEHOLDERS in the criminal justice system are currently engaged in a two-day workshop in Barbados to analyse the effectiveness and way forward for the drug treatment courts in the region.
Barbados has welcomed the workshop, being held at the Crane Resort, which seeks to monitor and evaluate drug treatment courts as an alternative to locking up offenders.
“I have bought into the concept of the drug treatment court . . . . We are very keen on seeing our court rolled out; we believe that it is the right thing to do to save more of our young people,” said Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.
He, however, told the audience of magistrates, chief justices, law enforcement officers and social workers from across the Organisation of American States that an effort should be made to have a system that would be relevant to the region.
“We have a responsibility to take this training forward. . . . As a region we must take ownership [of these initiatives] and ensure that we can do our own training . . .,” he said.
High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Richard Hanley, was also one of the speakers at the opening ceremony.
He said that Canada gave funds to the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission and worked with the OAS to support the workshop.
“It is our hope that over time, drug treatment courts in your countries would help significantly reduce crime, rate of recidivism and prison population. Drug treatment courts have been recognised in Canada as an innovative approach to help offenders address the cycle of addiction and criminal behaviour. It’s a public health issue as well as a criminal justice issue; it provides retreatment to addicts and safety to the community.” (JS)