Thursday, February 22, 2018

Minister: Drug rehab programme for prisons

A DRUG rehabilitation programme will be implemented in this country’s prisons, Justice Minister Emmanuel George said yesterday.

Cabinet yesterday agreed that the three-year drug rehabilitation programme at a cost of $3 million will begin from next year.

George made the statement during the weekly post-Cabinet news conference held at the Prime Minister’s Office in St Clair.

George said the Justice Ministry is focused on “restorative as opposed to punitive justice”.

“The aim of that initiative is to as far as possible rehabilitate inmates in the system so they can return to their families and to society as better and more productive citizens and make a positive contribution to Trinidad and Tobago,” George said.

He said the initiative is aimed at reducing recidivism in this country.

“The Commissioner of Prisons has brought to our attention at the ministry his observation that a very large proportion of inmates are in prison for drug offences and that includes the consumption as well as the trafficking of drugs,” George said.

“He has indicated that perhaps by helping them to rehabilitate themselves and in the context of rehabilitative justice initiative that it will be good for them, it will be good for the prison environment and it will be good also ultimately for the society,” he said.

George said drug rehabilitation within the prisons was attempted before but was “truncated” because of lack of proper monitoring systems.

He said the issue of monitoring will be addressed this time around by the Statistical Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Prisons Service and the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the Ministry of Justice.  

 Objectives of the drug rehabilitation programme in the prisons:  

1. To provide substance abuse treatment services appropriate to the needs of individual offenders to facilitate positive change  

2 To develop effective interventions to prevent or reduce the heavy and frequent consumption of drugs 

3 To aid participants in making the necessary changes to negative patterns of thinking, behaviours and attitudes 

4 To equip the participants with the necessary skills and coping mechanisms for reintegration into their families and into society