PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: Trinidad & Tobago will launch the country’s first drug treatment court in 2012. The announcement was made by Chief Justice Ivor Archie at a recent training workshop, “Implementation of Drug Treatment Courts as an Alternative to Incarceration for Drug Dependent Offenders”.
Minister of National Security, John Sandy, said the country “needs to find different and innovative alternatives to improve citizen security.”
The drug treatment court will receive technical assistance, training and cooperation from the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Drug treatment courts have emerged as a multi-disciplinary practice policy bringing together prevention policies, treatment and justice, and have shown results in other countries of the hemisphere to reduce crime and, as a result, the recidivism rate, the prison population and drug dependency.
Through a drug treatment court the recovery of the individual is closely supervised by a judge who has the power to praise or punish. The judge uses a team of prosecutors, defence lawyers, health professionals, social workers and police to rehabilitate and reintegrate individuals into the community.
The OAS is working with a number of organizations to identify innovations and good practices in addressing the needs of drug-dependent offenders, both through drug treatment courts and other holistic approaches that treat the individual, his or her family, work, health and social wellbeing as a whole, while still ensuring that the community’s security concerns are met.
Other countries of the region to initiate pilot projects or similar developments with support from the OAS include The Bahamas, Jamaica, Argentina, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.