- The Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Court offers a treatment programme for individuals, who are believed to have committed offences while under the influence.
- The court, through its rehabilitation and treatment services, helps individuals to become drug-free, productive citizens.
- Mr. Bromfield is urging other business persons to help by employing rehabilitated individuals.
When former drug addict Adrian Kinglock was arrested a few years ago for committing an offence to support his habit, he thought his life was over.
“I thought I was staring at a long prison sentence,” he tells JIS News.
Now, the recent graduate of the rehabilitation programme of the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Drug Treatment Court is expressing gratitude, noting that the programme has saved him.
“God was good and this programme saved me. I was given a chance to change, I was put on probation and benefited from the support of probation officers, who monitored me, and encouraged me. I was able to go through the programme successfully. I ensured that the urine samples I gave was my own, because only then they would know that I was trying to make good of myself.
“Through this programme, instead of idling and smoking, I began to turn a new leaf. The programme found a place for me to be an apprentice mechanic where I work and earn money. I am now a member of a church,” he discloses.
Mr. Kinglock was among three persons, who recently graduated from the programme at a function held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.
The Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Court, which was established in 2001, offers a treatment programme for individuals, who are believed to have committed offences while under the influence of drugs including alcohol, ganja, cocaine, morphine, opium and heroin.
Described by many as an avenue for change and a second chance at life, the court, through its rehabilitation and treatment services, helps individuals to become drug-free, productive citizens. These persons must be 17 years and older, and must not have any mental condition that would restrict active participation in the programme.
Resident Magistrate at the Corporate Area Court, Maxine Ellis, explains that the graduates, who have successfully completed the programme, leave the criminal justice system without a criminal record for the offence for which they were charged.
“This new way requires the participant to talk to the judge, keeps the offenders closely supervised and provides the offenders with the tools they need. Critical to the success of the court is the partnership of judicial leadership and community,” she explains.
Psychiatrist with the programme, Dr. Susannne Neita, outlined that the initiative motivates persons in a way, which allows them to recognise that they need treatment.
“The Drug Treatment Court motivates clients to change, through a legislatively enforced framework, without which many would not have considered the impact of substance abuse, or sought help for their addiction. It diverts clients from punitive sentences, to treatment and rehabilitation,” Dr. Neita points out.
Graduate from the programme, Dellon Blake, says that the motivation and support provided is critical as “some of us are not as strong as we think we are.”
He notes that, while “we want to make a difference in our lives…we sometimes see life with a blurred vision, but the Drug Court shines bright with a clear view and a clear vision that can redirect us on that constant search for that road that we all seek to find”.
Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla, commends the graduates for “staying the course of treatment,” and urges them “to remain as you are now; drug free, and become productive citizens of our country.”
Principal Executive Officer at the Court Management Services, Carol Hughes, in hailing the programme, says research has concluded that drug court interventions reduce crime as much as 45 per cent, which is more than other sentencing options.
In addition, she says, the drug court “produces cost savings ranging from $3,000 to $13,000 per client. These cost savings reflect reduced prison cost, arrest, and trials, and reduce victimization.”
Having come out of addiction, and found employment, Donna Vassel says she is living the life she has always wanted.
She says that although she was apprehensive when she was placed on the programme, today “I have no regrets.” She also has high praise for businessman, Glen Bromfield for adding her to his staff.
Mr. Bromfield is urging other business persons to help by employing rehabilitated individuals. “Give them employment; don’t rehabilitate them without giving them some form of employment. If you can help, please help.”
He is also offering a community centre he has built in St. Elizabeth for use by the programme. “I hope the court will find it necessary to use that centre as a drug rehabilitation centre,” Mr. Bromfield says.