OAS Trains Judges and Prosecutors in the Caribbean on Alternatives to Incarceration
Participants of the DTC' course held in Toronto.
In an initiative promoted by the Organization of American States (OAS), 40 judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers and other professions in the healthcare and justice fields in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, The Bahamas, and Grenada were trained recently in Canada on the workings of Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs), a model that proves to be an effective measure as an alternative to incarceration for violators who are addicted to drugs.
“The OAS is supporting the model of Drug Treatment Courts in the hemisphere as an effective and efficient tool to treat violators who are addicted to drugs and achieve a reduction in drug consumption, lower crime rates and help to reduce the criminal population in the region,” said Ambassador Paul Simons, Executive Secretary of the OAS Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD).
The project, by the CICAD and the Canadian Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals (CADTCP), began on February 27 and concluded on March 2, in the city of Toronto. The CICAD and the CADTCP signed a cooperation agreement that will allow this effort to continue over the next two years. Various members of the hemispheric Organization already have a calendar of activities for the start of pilot projects following this model.
|Chief Kofi Barnes and Amb. Paul Simons.
The seminar was divided into two parts, and in the first half of the week participants attended a practical training program that includes a visit to a DTC. The more than forty Caribbean delegates were tought based on a real case, and later visited healthcare institutions for people with drug addictions where they had the opportunity to observe the treatment protocol used. Afterwards they had first-hand experience of a real session before a hearing, where cases are followed up on and progress is evaluated.
In the second half of the week, the delegates attended the Fourth Conference of the CADTCP, where they had the opportunity to present the problems they face, as well as attend workshops on the subject. In this workshop visit the delegates were able to interact with hundreds of experts from Canada in the different areas that participate in a DTC.
This activity was carried out thanks to the the support of the Government of Canada.