Since prisons form part and parcel of the community, the Mauritius Prison Service has the responsibility to bring its contribution to eradicate drug problem in the Mauritian society and to support and empower substance abusing detainees to live a drug free life.
This statement was made by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, yesterday at the inauguration of the Residential Rehabilitation Lotus Centre at Eastern High Security Prison, Melrose, in the presence of the Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Vinod Appadoo and other officials.
On this occasion, Minister Husnoo highlighted that the Lotus Programme is a Residential Rehabilitation and Day Care programme in prisons across the island which aims at helping detainees to be free from addiction, encouraging them to participate in rehabilitation programme to gain greater self-awareness to live a drug free life, and preparing their re-entry in the community with the involvement of stakeholders. It is a new era in the Prison Department where an integrated approach is adopted to treat substance abusing detainees based on medical and therapeutic community models combined with a multi-disciplinary concept, he added.
The Minister also underscored that Government has taken a firm stance and a comprehensive approach to tackling drug scourge. He emphasised that his Ministry is working in close collaboration with the Prisons Department to better handle detainees who use drugs.
The Lotus Programme, he added, will help the Prison Department achieve one of its goals, that is, make detainees drug-free and substance misuse-free so that they can have better opportunities when they leave the prisons and there is less chance of them reoffending on their release.
For his part, the Commissioner of Prisons highlighted that an Assessment Board will select detainees to be inducted in this six-month programme and will ensure monitoring and evaluation. He pointed out that Prisons Staff have been selected and trained to work in this unit which will accommodate 50 detainees.