...stakeholders urged to take urgent steps towards alternative sentencing
As Government moves towards implementing alternative sentencing for drug-related offences, a recent study conducted on a group of prisoners locally has revealed that such offences were found to be the second leading cause for incarcerations.
This was revealed at a high level meeting between local stakeholders and a team of international experts on exploring alternatives to incarceration, including the establishment of drug treatment courts in Guyana.
During the opening ceremony this morning at the Marriott Hotel, Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Michael Atherly, emphasised the need to act now in implementing alternative sentencing.
“Presented data from 900 inmates who responded to more than 150 questions; the findings revealed that drug related offences was the leading cause for incarceration with 21.3 percent with inmates overall being imprisoned for drug possession” Atherly said.
According to the CANU boss, this finding re-enforces the need to act now since it shows that there is little to no mechanism to break the revolving cycle of drugs, crime and incarceration.
On this note, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan posited the need to shut this revolving door by not only finding alternatives to incarceration but also rehabilitation for drug users.
“I can immediately see drug users coming out of the habit and what I now understand is that the Court will order the detoxification and stabilisation types of treatment for users” Ramjattan stated.
Wednesday’s high-level meeting was a collaboration between the Public Security Ministry and the Organisation of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).
OAS Country Representative, Jean Ricot Dormeus, lauded Guyana for taking a step in this direction.