Source: Guyana Chronicle

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Guyana: international expert starts study on alternatives to imprisonment

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan on Wednesday met with Mr Peter Pursglove, where he was briefed on the recently commissioned study on alternatives to pre-trial detention.

Mr Pursglove was hired through the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) to explore and present alternatives to pre-trial detention that are harmonious with criminal justice processes in Guyana. His work is expected to contribute to a reduction in prison overcrowding and prevention of further criminalization of youths.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Public Security, in his initial meeting with Mr Pursglove, Minister Ramjattan stressed the timeliness of this activity particularly in light of the recent fire at the Juvenile Detention Centre, Sophia.

The release noted that the Minister emphasised the need for the study to include juvenile holding facilities. He also expressed his eagerness at receiving viable and sustainable solutions to the challenges that plague the prison system in Guyana.

Among the consultant’s tasks are conducting initial meetings with key stakeholders and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Guyana’s approach to the provision of alternatives to incarceration, along with opportunities for reform and development.

It was noted that the study will review and make recommendations on issues such as: sentencing policy; discretion available to Judges, Magistrates, Police and Prosecutors; capacity of probabtion and other systems of supervision of non-custodial sanctions including possible collaboration with civil society organizations; restorative justice; and decriminalizing certain acts.

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