One of the keys to combating crime in our community is preventing repeat offenders. To that end, Minister Kim Wilson today announced the newly expanded rehabilitation programmes at Westgate.
The Minister noted that the PLP is reopening the Transitional Living Centre to help prepare inmates to re-enter society upon their release. Minister Wilson:
The Transitional Living Center was developed as a partnership between Department of National Drug Control, Department of Corrections and Liberty Behavioural Healthcare Corporation.
The mission of TLC was to provide a drug-free, safe and structured treatment environment where residents live and work together within a supportive and habilitative framework of mutual self- help which will assist resident with successful reintegration into the community upon release.
The programme accommodated approximately fifteen (15) adult male residents and was a 9 to 12 month residential programme, followed by six months of aftercare while the resident re-enters society.
As you are aware, the TLC facility has been closed since June 30, 2012. It is the intention of the Department of Corrections to reopen the TLC in April 2013.
The Minister also noted that the PLP is looking forward to opening the New Co-Ed Substance Abuse Treatment Facility this fiscal year! Minister Wilson:
The critical aspects that are currently being determined will be the selection of those persons to work at the TLC and the training that will be required.
I’d now like to touch on the New Co-Ed Substance Abuse Treatment Facility.
The Substance Abuse Treatment Co-Ed Facility is a current capital project that we anticipate will be completed this fiscal year.
Both the Men’s Treatment Center and the Women’s Treatment programmes will be re- located to this purpose built facility.
We also built the Right Living House facility:
The next facility I’d like to highlight is the Right Living House.
The Right Living House is a Therapeutic Community (TC) located at the Farm Work Release Facility in St. George’s, Bermuda.
It opened its doors to residents in the summer of 2009.
The programme was developed in a partnership between the Bermuda’s Department of National Drug Control and the Department of Corrections.
With the support and backing of Bermuda’s Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation, these two agencies set out to lessen the corrosive impact of drug abuse and crime on our community.
The programme, which currently houses 18 residents, is segregated from the general prison population in order to diminish the potential negative influences of the untreated inmate subculture on the TC’s changed-oriented, pro-social culture.
We also delivered and expanded the Women's Treatment Center. Minister Wilson:
Turning to the Women’s Treatment Center – this facility is the only Residential Treatment Facility for Women in Bermuda. It provides long term, comprehensive treatment for addiction and related disorders.
The programme is delivered over a minimum of 12 months using a phased approach.
All clients are assessed on completion of each Phase prior to being progressed to the next Phase.
Each client is judged on her individual merit for treatment planning. The average length of stay in the program to date is 15 months.
The Women’s Treatment Center opened its doors in 2004 with 6 residential beds and 2 transitional beds.
It was later re-located to its current site on North Shore Road in Devonshire in 2006 where it has 8 residential beds and 2 transitional beds.
And, finally, we started Men's Treatment Services and will complete international accreditation for our Men's Treatment Center in May 2013! Minister Wilson:
And finally, I want to close by highlighting our Men’s Treatment Services. This is a 12-month, 3-phased, residential substance abuse and related disorders treatment programme for men aged 18 and older in Bermuda.
The three phases are Orientation, Treatment, and Transition. The programme is currently being re-organized to incorporate primary care along with relapse prevention and transition for males in this new phased approach.
Clients meet with their primary counselor to develop their treatment plans, discuss personal issues, and monitor their phase progress. Residents are eligible to progress from one phase to the next once they have met the requirements for the preceding phase.
Presently, the maximum bed capacity is twelve (12); however, this number is set to increase to twenty-four (24) once the program relocates to its new facility in Dockyard later this fiscal year.
The Men’s Treatment Center is currently preparing for international accreditation via CARF with plans to be surveyed by May 2013.
We can't lock up people forever. Rehabilitation and treatment is critical to ensuring that released Bermudians integrate into society and become productive members of society. This amounts to real action and real results on public safety.
The PLP responded to the murder at the Mid Atlantic Boat Club by noting that, “We as a community, must not stand for this. It’s going to take all of us doing our part to bring crime under control. The Progressive Labour Party extends our deepest sympathies to the family of the victim.”
Pembroke East MP, the Hon. Walter Roban, also addressed the shooting, “I wish to express my horror and sadness upon hearing for the tragic shooting at the Mid Atlantic Boat Club.
“This area has seen one too many of these incidences and I am concerned about the well being of the residents who live not far from the club grounds. This club has had a long admirable history and it is so unfortunate that its members and patrons are suffering through situations like this too often.
“Anyone who has information that will be helpful to the authorities should come forward to assist.
“My sympathies go out to the family of the victim and the members, patrons and officials of the Mid Atlantic Boat Club.
It is unfortunate that Jeff Baron and the One Bermuda Alliance continue to ignore the fact that overall crimes were down 10.7% in the last quarter. That’s a remarkable statistic and shows that sure and steady progress is being made.
The OBA should speak to Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Wright who said, “the long term trend of total crime is continuing downward. The second quarter for 2012 is below average for the previous 12 months and it represents the lowest quarter in the last five years.”
While there’s no doubt that more work needs to be done, it’s clear that sure and steady progress is being made. The OBA continues to try to scare and mislead Bermudians about crime; they continue to offer no ideas and no solutions to the crime problem. In fact, the one idea the OBA has suggested, crime mapping, is already being actively pursued by the Bermuda Police Service!
It is unfortunate that even through the OBA's game of blaming the PLP for all things wrong in the world, they offer no ideas and no solutions to Bermudians.
Bermudians do not want a government that constantly attacks and speaks negatively about Bermuda.
Bermudians want a government that believes in the people of Bermuda and stands strong on the issues that matter.
We are confident that the electorate understands those who are standing strong for Bermudians, and those who are working for their own political interests.
There's one problem with Jeff Baron's idea to introduce crime mapping to Bermuda. His idea is not new. The PLP is already implementing it.
The BPS has already announced plans to improve its Geographical Information Systems (GIS or "crime mapping."). This is just one of eight technology based solutions the BPS is pursuing in its current Strategic Plan 2012-2015. The Plan is easily available online at www.bps.bm.
The OBA is still yet to come up with a single new idea for making Bermuda safer.
In the meantime, the PLP is funding new technologies and funding new investigative methods and working with police and making sure and steady progress on the crime issue.
When it comes to crime, we still don't know what the OBA plan to do. They have yet to offer any new ideas or vision.
Once again, the One Bermuda Alliance is making angry allegations against the government, but, they’re not offering any solutions.
In response to the CARTEL issue, Pastor Leroy Bean noted, “The OBA has offered no ideas and no solutions when it comes to White’s Island. You know what we’re using it for? Not for our own profit. We’re using it to help hundreds of troubled Bermudian young people,” noted the Pastor.
“I invite you to talk to some of the young people that have participated in our programme. We're working with young people who show anti-social behaviour and working to mediate conflicts between them before they erupt in violence. We're also working with Bermudians who may already be engaged in some of our anti-social problems here in Bermuda and working with these young people to put them on the right path. We educate. We mediate. And, we relocate to take them out of troubled environments.
"Our programme has given them self esteem and set them on the right course in society. CARTEL is doing charitable work and helping our community! We are funded by churches and concerned Bermudians. We are using White's Island to conduct therapeutic programmes and mediations that are putting young Bermudians back on the right track.
“Would the OBA kick these young people to the curb? Would they say that we can’t have that space because they want to use it to help their rich friends? It’s shocking to me that a charitable programme that has touched the lives of hundreds of young people is being vilified.
“The OBA is quick to attack the crime issue. But, when there are organisations like CARTEL working with our young people to do something about it, what does the OBA do? Do they make a charitable contribution to our work? No. Do they volunteer with our programmes? No. Instead, they try to take away our gathering place where we work with these young people.
“I’ve had enough. Their assault is an assault on all of the kids whose lives that we are touching. We are standing strong for these Bermudian kids and the OBA is working to shut down a programme that helps them. I won’t stand for it and neither should you,” Pastor Bean concluded.
In response to the announcement that crime is down 10.7% in the second quarter, Senator Jonathan Smith, PLP Candidate in Constituency #28 noted, “While we have more work to do, I’m glad to see that we’re making sure and steady progress bringing crime under control.”
Senator Smith continued:
“Over the last several quarters, we’ve seen that crime is consistently on the way down. In fact, the second quarter represented the second lowest crime incidents since 2007. While there’s certainly more work to be done, it’s clear that progress is being made.
“Over the last several years, the PLP has strengthened funding for prevention and rehabilitation programmes. We’ve instituted tough new laws to punish gang members. We’ve introduced new crime fighting technologies and created training opportunities for law enforcement agents. And, we’ve implemented reforms to the judicial system to ensure that our courts move more swiftly.
“Further, we are extremely encouraged to witness the growing community mobilisation to counter gang and gun crime and gang lifestyle. More people are getting involved to help our young men chart an alternative path. Ultimately, this is where the long term resolutions rest.
“We know that there is more work to do, but, we are glad to say that when it comes to crime, we are standing strong for Bermudians by making Bermuda a safer place to live and raise a family.”
Join us this Thursday, July 19th at 7.30 pm at the Devonshire Recreation Club for a special forum on strengthening our community.
Panel members from Mirrors, Crime Stoppers, Family Learning Centre and Community Action Team will be on hand to share their expertise. Premier Paula Cox, Minister Glenn Blakeney, Minister Walter Roban and Minister Michael Weeks will also atten dthe forum.
Come out, listen, and participate in the forum. Learn how we can gain the tools and knowledge so that together, we can nurture our young, and protect and strengthen our community.
Light refreshments will be served. Hope to see you there!
Yesterday, Minister Wayne Perinchief highlighted a new piece of legislation set to be passed that increases sentences for gang members convicted of crimes.
Minister Wayne Perinchief:
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will have noted that the Bill creates a sentencing regime based on the commission of crime as part of unlawful gang activity. For the first time we seek to define, in law, an unlawful gang. That definition connects the number of persons with the commission of crime and the benefits, financial or otherwise that accrue to the unlawful gang.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill proposes that a sentencing court will be entitled to take into account those overt actions associated with the gang lifestyle. Names, signs, symbols, frequent associations and activities related to the gang all factor into this equation. For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Speaker, it is important to note that these determinations form part of the sentencing phase and so no prejudice is caused to the innocent man or woman. For a court to have regard to these things an individual must, by definition, be convicted of some offence.
Mr. Speaker, some Honourable Members will be familiar with the concept of the increased penalty, which has been considered and passed in this Honourable House in relation to the Misuse of Drugs Act and which is applied in the Courts today. Mr. Speaker, the principle in this Bill is similar in that the “aggravating” feature of the crime committed is the unlawful gang activity at its core. Mr. Speaker, the Bill requires the court to first determine the basic sentence for the offence committed and where the offence committed falls within the definition of unlawful gang activity an additional element of imprisonment or fine is then imposed.
When it comes to public safety, the PLP continues to take action. While there's still more work to do, we're making sure and steady progress working with the police to bring down crime. This new piece of legislation will help us crack down on the gang problem and keep violent gang offenders in prison longer.
We're doing so much to address the crime issue. We've strengthened sentences, given police more flexibility to question and investigate criminals, we've introduced new crime fighting technology, we've strengthened prevention programmes, we've made the judiciary more efficient and now we're toughening sentences for gang members. While there's more work to do, it's clear that sure and steady progress is being made.
Today, Minister Wayne Perinchief announced that the PLP delivered on tougher sentences for gang offenders and that we are implementing the acclaimed Street Safe Programme beginning next week.
We are pursuing a mix of policies that include both tougher sentences and prevention efforts. And, what we're doing is surely and steadily working. Crime is going down thanks in part to our work. Minister Perinchief announces the tougher sentences for gang offenders:
I am pleased to advise Honourable Members that today, this Government delivers on two further key aspects of those promises. I will table the Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2012 which makes provision for additional sentences where crimes are proved to be committed as part of unlawful gang activity. Mr. Speaker, these additional sentencing powers will provide the Courts with the ability to properly reflect the public sentiment surrounding the negative effects of such crimes on this community.
And, he noted that the successful Safe Streets Programme, started in Boston, is starting in Bermuda this weekend. Minister Perinchief:
I am pleased to advise this Honourable House that a team from Boston's Street Safe Programme arrive in Bermuda this weekend and for the coming week will conduct intensive training of the first wave of those who would form the backbone of the gang mediation initiative.
Mr. Speaker, close to 30 men and women will spend four days receiving best practice instructions from a team whose track record is enviable and who come well equipped to provide the platform for our local success. This has been achieved with cross-ministry support and at the end of the week I will be joined by the Honourable Premier and other Ministerial colleagues to provide an overview of what I expect will be a successful week's intensive work.
It's working. We're working with the police to surely and steadily bring crime down in Bermuda. We're addressing the sentencing and enforcement side as well as the prevention and rehabilitation side. Over the last few years, we've passed a rash of measures to address these problems. We've taken proactive action. And, now, we're pleased to say that it's working.
Today, Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier praised the progress we've made on crime noting, "This is Progress!"
The Bermuda Police Service can rightfully claim progress against gang violence over the past year. They can point to the fact that total firearms incidents in 2011 were down 37%, with injuries and fatalities down 55%. This is progress...
Over the last year, the PLP has worked closely with the police to bring down crime. We've changed the laws to make their jobs easier and help them bring criminals to justice and break down gangs.
We're pleased to see that even Craig Cannonier can see the sure and steady progress being made by the PLP.