Barbados launches drug treatment court this week

Home Affairs Minister Adriel Brathwaite and Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS), Paul Simons, will address the opening ceremony where Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson will officially launch the court.

Barbados signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2013 with CICAD to participate in a hemispheric project to promote drug treatment courts and similar court-supervised treatment alternatives to incarceration.

Drug treatment courts provide a structured, intensive and demanding intervention, in which drug-abusing offenders are held accountable for their behaviour.

A joint statement from the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) and the OAS, said “drug treatment courts divert substance-abusing offenders from prison into treatment and rehabilitation programmes under judicial supervision.”

It added that increasing direct supervision of offenders, coordinating public resources, and expediting case processing, treatment alternatives to incarceration may serve to help break the cycle of criminal behaviour, alcohol and drug use and imprisonment.

The statement noted that countries where drug treatment courts were introduced had seen a measurable reduction in the incidence of recidivism in the drug-abusing criminal population, and in the backlog of the criminal justice system. There was also a noted increase in public safety.

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