The Drug Treatment Court (DTC)

Barbados’ Drug Treatment Court Pilot Project was launched on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 with 12 participants. The Pilot Court is presided over by the Chief Magistrate, Her Worship, Miss. Pamela Beckles and operates out of Supreme Court No. 3 in the Supreme Court Complex on Whitepark Road. The Court was set up with the assistance of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) and with funding from the Canadian Government.

Drug Treatment Courts are specialized courts designed to judicially supervise cases involving non-violent, drug dependent criminal offenders.

The DTC is a realistic and cost-effective solution to reducing crime and recidivism in society. It operates on the premise that drug dependency is a public health concern, which cannot be tackled simply by using law enforcement strategies.

The DTC places emphasis on drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration. It therefore integrates traditional criminal justice procedures and drug treatment options to create a unique process of judicially supervised court-ordered treatment.

Hence, the main objective of the DTC is to correct or modify drug offenders’ behaviour in order to enable them to reduce or stop their drug use.

Drug dependent offenders must meet eligibility criteria to qualify for admission to the DTC and must voluntarily agree to participate in the programme. In so doing, drug offenders become accountable and accept responsibility for their drug addiction, and public safety is not compromised.

The focus on therapeutic approaches is also combined with special incentives aimed at reducing drug use, as well as sanctions and consequences for non-compliance.

Through the DTC specific linkages, partnerships and networks are developed with key community, government and corporate stakeholders. These relationships have proven effective in addressing issues related to housing, education, vocational training, social and occupational re-integration of DTC graduates to society.

The DTC presents a better option for providing drug treatment to effectively address drug dependent criminal offenders in Barbados.

The DTC’s main goal is to break the cycle of drug addiction, crime and recidivism among drug dependent offenders.

The DTC seeks to achieve these goals:

  1. Reduce incidence of crime and juvenile delinquency
  2. Reduce recidivism amongst drug using offenders
  3. Provide effective community-based alternatives to incarceration
  4. Reduce Government expenditure
  5. Effective management of criminal justice and health care resources
  6. Provide quality social and aftercare services
  7. Improve public safety
  8. Reduce prison and juvenile centre populations
  9. Re-integrate drug using offenders with families and social networks
  10. Promote efficacy of the DTC process through evidence-based monitoring and evaluation