Close to 400 accused on remand at Dodds, says AG
As of October this year, there are 382 persons on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison at Dodds.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite made this disclosure today in the House of Assembly while moving the Second Reading of the Prisons (Amendment) Bill 2014.
Voicing concern over the large number of persons who are on remand at the prison, Brathwaite acknowledged that some of the matters dated back as far as 2008.
“I feel we have to see how we can have cases heard more speedily. I am deeply concerned because of the large number of persons on remand. However, based on my reading, there is no jail in the world that there are not large numbers of persons on remand. It is an area that troubles all prison authorities,” he said.
However, he noted that where persons were remanded for extended periods, it could be seen as an infringement of their rights and could also create health challenges in instances where a large number of persons were held in a confined space.
The St Philip South MP further pointed out that there were certain vulnerable persons in society for whom imprisonment should be used as a sanction of last resort.
Meanwhile, Brathwaite told the Lower Chamber that Barbados would be moving ahead with implementation a drug treatment court.
In this regard, he said a team from Trinidad and Tobago, where such a court has been in existence over the past year, would soon be visiting Barbados to give the local officials some insight into the operation of such a court.
The Attorney General also made reference to research in the United States which showed that 75 per cent of individuals who passed through these courts do not return to the legal system.
He said the research had also shown that the treatment offered at a drug treatment court was less expensive than incarceration.
“In other words, you are treating the illness. You are hoping that in treating the illness the individual no longer returns to the drug habit.”
However, he acknowledged that “not everyone will be suitable candidates for such a court, which was many for “non-violent offenders”.