Jamaica benefits from support for drug treatment courts

Friday, September 08, 2017

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JAMAICA is among six countries that will benefit from an additional CAN$833,000 in financial support from the Government of Canada for the monitoring and evaluation of drug treatment courts.

The other countries are Barbados, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

The funding, which is to be provided over the next two years, will also help the countries to consider options related to juvenile treatment courts and community courts.

Counsellor and head of Development Cooperation, Canadian High Commission in Jamaica Walter Bernyck made the disclosure at the opening of a regional workshop on drug treatment courts at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday.

He noted that through its Anti-Crime Capacity Building Programme, Canada has been a long-term supporter towards implementing drug treatment courts in the region.

He pointed out that between 2011 and 2015, the country provided CAN$1.8 million in financial support to Barbados, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic to establish such treatment models.

Bernyck congratulated the countries on their work to maintain the programme.

“You're part of the vanguard, really looking at alternatives to incarceration and how we can better address problematic substance abuse,” he said.

In Jamaica, drug treatment courts are designed to provide judicial supervision to drug-dependent offenders who have consented to participate in the programme. They benefit from a course of treatment and regular monitoring by the court to ensure that they abstain from drugs.

Hosted by the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Government of Jamaica, the three-day workshop focused on the expansion of drug treatment courts in the Caribbean.

It was organised by the National Council on Drug Abuse, the Court Management Services, and the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, with the support of the Caricom Secretariat and the Government of Canada.

Delegates from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago were in attendance.

The workshop was also intended to train experts from the health and justice sectors on drug treatment courts as an alternative to incarceration for juvenile and adult drug offenders.

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