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Caribbean: Drugs

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to encourage rehabilitation programs for drug addicts serving prison sentences in the British Caribbean Overseas Territories. (309076)

In Anguilla, all prisoners identified with a substance misuse problem are offered drug services after their arrival in prison. There are also plans that early in 2010 the services of a local drug counsellor, currently employed by the education authority, will visit the prison to facilitate group work. The resident prison counsellor offers one-to-one sessions for substance abusers and this is reinforced by the rehabilitation department who offer drug awareness training. The prison’s change manager, a former UK prison governor who was appointed in June 2009, has drafted a strategic plan for the prison which will include access to improved drug and general rehabilitative services.

In the British Virgin Islands a drugs counsellor visits the prison on a regular basis to run group sessions with prisoners with drug abuse issues, working in conjunction with the prison’s resettlement department and its internal counsellor. Subject to funding in the next financial year, the British Virgin Islands prison adviser, a former UK prison governor who was recruited in early 2009, has a proposal to increase the number of hours of both group and individual drug work with prisoners.

The Cayman Islands has a well developed and well resourced drug programme, both within prison and in the community. The introduction of drug courts has sought to divert from prison those who do not need to be incarcerated and who can undergo rehabilitation in the community.

In Montserrat the prison has recently established a formal process for external drug workers to visit the prison on a regular basis. Although the numbers of prisoners with drug abuse issues are small, the sessions are aimed at all prisoners in order to provide awareness of the issues associated with drugs.

In the Turks and Caicos Islands a drug worker continues to visit the prison regularly, to hold both group and individual sessions. The Overseas Territories prison reform co-ordinator has held a number of meetings locally in recent months with the aim of seeking to progress both prison and community based drug rehabilitation, linked to sentencing amendments. It is hoped that this issue will progress in 2010.