The Drug treatment Court Pilot. The Drug Treatment Court Pilot Project in Trinidad and Tobago.

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1 The Drug treatment Court Pilot The Drug Treatment Court Pilot Project in Trinidad and Tobago. : Mr. Justice Geoffrey Henderson Seminar on the OAS Report: The Drug Problem in the Americas, UWI, St. Augustine. 22 nd July, 2013

2 Introduction Drug Treatment Courts ( DTCs) link the judicial system of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys through social service providers, with a treatment strategy that addresses the underlying causes that have led to the person's offending: drug dependency. Drug Treatment Courts are not to be confused with Drug Courts. Drug Courts are conventional courts that hear and determine narcotics and narcotic related matters Problem solving approach to dealing with - drug addicts - criminal behavior driven by drug addiction

3 Policy background for the establishment of DTCs Inclusion in the National Anti-Drug Plan Institutional Strengthening Demand Reduction Viewed the operation of the Dade County Miami Drug Treatment Court - CICAD 46 th Regular Session Nov 2009

4 Policy background for the establishment of DTCs 48 th Regular Session of CICAD The Executive Secretariat presented its plan to establish a Caribbean Drug Treatment Court Project CARICOM Secretariat supported and Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago expressed interest in the project.

5 Background to the development of DTCs The five objects of sentencing as set out in Benjamin v R (1964) 77 WIR 459 are; (i) retribution (ii) deterrence vis-à-vis potential offenders (iii) deterrence vis-à-vis the particular offender (iv) preventative (v) rehabilitation

6 Background to the development of DTCs cont d. Retribution, deterrence, and preventative objects tend to predominate leading to many drug offenders being incarcerated. In 1989 Dade County, Florida, USA in its search for a solution to reduce the number of prisoners and its cost came up with the solution of a problem solving court- thus the first Drug Treatment Court was set up.

7 The Role of Justice in Treatment Certain types of offenders do NOT respond to treatment alone Justice in collaboration with treatment will more effectively address drug abuse by criminal offenders

8 Drug Treatment Courts What are Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs): Courts which are designed to supervise cases of drug dependent offenders who agree to participate in treatment for their substance abuse Offenders must take responsibility for their addiction and agree to address same The DTC combines traditional justice processes with treatment options

9 Does the DTC Work? Evaluations in the various jurisdictions reveal : Reduces ongoing drug dependency and criminal behavior Is more cost effective than incarcerating drug addicts or offenders driven by addiction In the USA growth from December Court in Dade County Miami, to April ,459 In Canada the program rolled out in Toronto in December,1998 Vancouver in 2001, Edmonton in 2005 and Winnipeg, Ottawa and Regina followed in 2006

10 The DTC and the Addict DTC is not appropriate for all offenders It is NOT a soft option There is close monitoring of the participant Participants MUST conform to the programme There is the option to revert to traditional sentence for non -compliance Not appropriate for seriously mentally ill addicts Most appropriate for offenders who are motivated to stop using

11 Key Principles for a Successful DTC 1. The Court and Treatment Services Collaboration of both systems strengthens intervention Immediate treatment and ongoing judicial supervision 2. Non Adversarial approach to decisions A team approach is necessary to address the needs of the participants Decisions reached by consensus 3. Early identification of eligible offenders Eligibility based on issues related to public safety and appropriateness for treatment

12 Key Principles for a Successful DTC cont d 4.Treatment Services -Treatment should include a range of services -Community recourses should be accessed 5.Urine testing -This is critical as a participant must have negatives tests to graduate

13 Key Principles for a Successful DTC cont d 6.Incentives and Sanctions - a range of graduated incentives and sanctions are employed - sanctions should be swift and certain but flexible if the circumstances require. 7.Ongoing Judicial Supervision - judicial oversight is essential - face to face interaction with each DTC participant is critical

14 Key Principles for a Successful DTC cont d 8.Ongoing judicial supervision continued -pre court discussions with the judicial officer and each DTC member is vital. -the judicial officer is the ultimate decision maker. Jurisdiction is not surrendered 9.Evaluation

15 Key Principles for a Successful DTC cont d 10. Interdisciplinary training - DTC members must be trained to work as a team - the development of a multi disciplinary approach takes time and patience - continuing inter-disciplinary education promotes success

16 Key Principles for a Successful DTC cont d 11. Partnership with the Community. 12. Planning for After Care

17 DTCs in the Caribbean Jurisdictions in which DTCs exist : Jamaica Cayman Islands Trinidad and Tobago Jurisdictions Considering DTCs The Commonwealth of the Bahamas Barbados Grenada Suriname

18 Implementation of DTC in Trinidad and Tobago Training opportunities accessed through CICAD and CARICOM between January 2011 and December 2012 Commitment by the Honorable Chief Justice to a implement a DTC in 2012 Establishment of a multi-sectoral Planning Committee in November 2011

19 Implementation of DTC in Trinidad and Tobago cont d. Identification of lead agency Judiciary Sensitization on the DTC to the Inter-Ministerial Committee by the Chief Justice Agreement on a Post Adjudicatory process for Adults Magistrates Court to be the appropriate court A pilot utilizing the existing legislative architecure

20 Implementation of DTC in Trinidad and Tobago Development of a DTC policy document which was approved by the Chief Justice (available online). MOU signed between the GORTT and OAS/ CICAD in September 2012 Adult DTC launched in September 2012 at the San Fernando Magistrates Court Soft roll out in Tunapuna proposed last quarter 2013 Recommended Juvenile DTC for Port of Spain

21 The DTC Pilot Project : the experience to date. The DTC Pilot project launched on 11 th September, 2012 Weekly sittings commenced on October 10 th, the DTC team met and developed their multi disciplinary team - vital part of the team building process. With the objective of rehabilitating the offender, it was important for the DTC judge to encourage team members to express their opinions and have the confidence to do so where this may differ from others

22 The DTC Pilot Project : the experience to date cont d. 8 th November, the first participant referred to the DTC Pilot Project. Referral statistics to date total number of referrals - 14 ( 14 male 0 female) persons admitted as participants 4 applications refused 2 applications pending - 8 referrals from San Fernando Magistrates Court - 11 referrals from Mayaro Magistrates Court 2 referrals from Point Fortin Magistrates court -1 9 th January, 2013 the first participant admitted into the DTC Pilot Project

23 Supervised Bail A related intervention is the informal supervised bail program commonly referred to as the Bail Boys Project. This program with suitable adaptation has employed the graduated approach of rewards and sanctions that we just discussed with DTCs The background to this approach was the observation by the bail judge that (i) several young men where being held on remand for extensive periods, and (ii) while on remand, they were not exposed to any educational, vocational or behavioral modification programs.

24 Supervised Bail cont d Goals of the program - expose young persons to structured programs, geared towards the specific needs of the individual - prepare the young person for eventual integration back into society - monitor the young person in an attempt to prevent recidivism

25 Supervised Bail cont d Participants are exposed to the following programs (i) life skills training classes e.g. Self Esteem Anger Management Sex Education Societal and Moral Values and Norms Spirituality Fiscal Management (ii) academic/trade skills to make participants more employable upon release or completion of their program

26 Supervised Bail cont d (iii) counselling, monitoring and supervision to assist in keeping participants focussed on overall rehabilitation (iv) literacy programs ( research has shown that literacy levels and school drop outs are linked to self esteem and behaviour problems

27 Supervised Bail cont d This program began in November, 2009 with two participants. Supervision was provided through the probation services. By November, 2011 twenty (20) young men 18-25years old were granted bail with supervision being provided by the probation services. - participants were placed on curfews -required to report to a probation officer and a police station as ordered - counselling

28 Supervised Bail cont d - participants were referred to varying educational trade programs that included:- YTEPP, MUST, SERVOL, Retraining Program, Computer Literacy, NESC, MIC/ HYPE, CCC and NOSTT Participants are monitored to ensure full compliance by both the probation services as well as by bi-monthly court attendance.

29 Supervised Bail cont d The results are encouraging are gainfully employed - 8 are attending class

30 Conclusion The following thought proving quotation taken from Judging for the 21 st Century: A problem-solving Approach, National Judicial Institute, by Susan Goldberg is apposite: Therapeutic jurisprudence does not ask judges to be therapist or social workers. It does not ask judges to cure addiction, to counsel court participants, or to single handedly solve systemic social problems. It does, however, ask judges to be aware that such problems do exist, to be alive to their signs and symptoms and to consider the effects they may have on people in court and on the activities that have brought them to court, and to think about how to address these situations so as to maximise therapeutic outcomes

31 The Drug Treatment Court Pilot Project in Trinidad and Tobago. THANK YOU Seminar on the OAS Report: The Drug Problem in the Americas, UWI, St. Augustine. 22 nd July, 2013

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