Drugs not cause of prison congestion
(CNS): HMP Northward is currently at breaking point when it comes to inmate numbers but the police have dismissed the popular misconception that the jail is being filled up with large numbers of young men, in particular, who have been being convicted and jailed merely for smoking ganja. The RCIPS has enjoyed some notable success on seizures of large quantities of drugs being smuggled into the Cayman Islands, which have also resulted in the recovery of illegal weapons accompanying the drugs. Police have also rounded up a number of human trafficking suspects and arrested people for illegal landing.
But in 2017, despite a drop in drug crime overall, more than 100 people were arrested purely for consumption or possession of small amounts of ganja, according to the latest crime figures.
While the misuse of drugs and addiction fuels a considerable amount of crime, the majority of people serving time in HMP Northward and Fairbanks are there for serious crimes. Only 18% of the prison population is there as a result of a drug-related conviction and of those less than 5% relate to the use and possession of ganja. In total, drug crimes represented just 4% of crimes reported to police last year. In the crime statistics analysis published on Friday, the police reported an 80% detection rate when it comes to drug crime.
Speaking to CNS following Friday’s press briefing about the crime figures, Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said it was a popular misconception that the police were rounding up drug users while the real criminals were walking the streets. He said that if in the course of their work the police find people smoking ganja, then they are obligated to arrest the individuals, even when they have committed no other offences, because consumption remains a crime.
As the world moves away from the criminalisation of drug users and focuses law enforcement on the production and trafficking of increasingly dangerous and potent drugs, Cayman is still sending mixed messages. Having shown leadership in the region with the legalisation of medical cannabis oil on prescription, the country continues to arrest recreational users of ganja and cocaine addicts.
Category: Crime, Police