Prison & Drugs



Get tough on drugs in prison, urges Dunkley

The Royal Gazette Ltd Bermuda, July 13, 2000

"Recidivism is running at more than 80 percent. Clearly the system is not working. It's an expensive, glorified baby sitting service," said Shadow Home Affairs Minister Michael Dunkley.

A get tough approach is needed on the issue of drugs, he continued, including mandatory rehabilitation for narcotics offenders.

"If someone who is on drugs has run afoul of the law, they wouldn't be expected to make the right decision if given the chance of a voluntary programme. The programme must be made compulsory. "If they have fallen foul of the law, they don't have the morals or integrity others have.

"We have to teach them, teach them that they have to be accountable for their actions."

Mr. Dunkley said the prison's drug problem reflected that of the wider society.

"It's more far reaching than most people realise. There are a huge number of people using illicit drugs.

"We must identify the problem and get tough if the rehabilitation programme isn't working. I am led to believe drugs are readily available in prison. If that's the case, prison authorities should deal with it right away. It has to stop.

"If I was Home Affairs Minister, the first thing I would do is tighten up Westgate and make sure there are no drugs getting in. There are ion scanners and sniffer dogs which can be used.

"And I believe officers have to be drug tested if we are serious about drugs in our society.

"Everybody has got to stand up and be counted: prison officers, Police officers, customs officers - it should be right across the board. We have had enough prison reviews and we have enough information to act on."

Prisoners should also be made to put something back into society, said Mr. Dunkley. "They should be doing a job in prison and the job programmes should be mandatory, not voluntary.

"There are many, many jobs prisoners can do. They could go through the Island picking up trash or do general maintenance in prison. These jobs don't take much supervising."




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