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GSD hails success on mandatory drugs testing prison policy

The GSD yesterday said it had successfully driven its position on mandatory drugs testing in prisons.
In a statement the Opposition explained that as a result of questions it tabled at the last meeting of Parliament, the Government has agreed with its position that the prison service should make use of the statutory powers it has to make mandatory drugs testing of inmates a reality.
“It will be recalled that it was the former GSD Government that made provision for mandatory drugs testing in Prisons but some five years later the Government has been very slow to expedite this critical work within our Prisons,” the statement read.
The GSD stated that Shadow Justice Minister Elliott Phillips had previously asked the former Justice Minister, Gilbert Lucudi, questions on the mandatory testing of prisoners.
“We were told three things by the former Justice Minister,” the GSD added.
“Firstly, that the technology for such tests was not calibrated, secondly that the Superintendent preferred voluntary arrangements with Prisoners in exchange for privileges and thirdly that the Superintendent of Prisons had not issued the requisite statutory notice despite the legal framework being put in place by a GSD Government over five years ago.”
The GSD added that in last month’s meeting of parliament, the newly appointed Justice Minister, Neil Costa, agreed with them and accepted the Opposition’s invitation to speak with the Superintendent in order to ensure that mandatory drugs testing of inmates was to be actively pursued.
Mr Phillips said:”we believe it is right that the authorities use the powers at their disposal to get inmates away from drugs and their abuse and moving them towards making a positive contribution to our community.”
“Substance abuse must be tackled at every level in our community and if we have the statutory muscle to tackle drugs there is now reason why we should not do so.”
“We continue to express disappointment not to have received a explanation for the five year delay of the Government to ensure that mandatory drugs testing becomes a practical reality but we welcome Minister Costa stance and his commitment to working with us on this important issue,” he added.