Thursday 18 July 2019

Jailing addicts not the answer, judge advises Teen Challenge crowd

TIGLIN, TEEN CHALLENGE hosted a very successful awareness evening at the Glenview Hotel, Glen of the Downs on Saturday last.

Tiglin is a Life Skills Centre for Drug and Life Controlling Problems located near Ashford. Among the 170 guests were TDS, community representatives, business and sporting personalities and members of the Government and judiciary.

Aubrey Mccarthy, Chairman of Tiglin introduced Judge Gillian Hussey who was the keynote speaker for the evening. Judge Hussey said that it is her privilege to be a supporter of the work of Teen Challenge in Ireland for the last nine years. She added that if there weren't addicted people in the courts she would have worked for only two weeks and not the 20 years she served in the judicial system.

Judge Hussey was also adamant that sending addicts to prison is not the answer. According to her it costs €120,000 p.a. to keep a person in prison compared to the €19,770 p.a. it costs to support a person in the Tiglin programme.

At the moment it's estimated that Ireland has 15,000 registered drug addicts, with drug addiction accountable for 70 per cent of Irish crime. Judge Hussey first became aware of Tiglin when a 'waif of a girl' came before her in the dock and was sentenced to jail for a week and advised to ' think long and hard about her future' before coming back before the court. The girl decided to go to the Tiglin Teen Challenge programme to overcome her addictions and the Judge followed her progress with keen interest, even going as far as attending her graduation from the programme. Judge Hussey was also an honoured guest at this young woman's wedding.

Judge Hussey then invited a very confident and striking woman up to the platform and introduced her as the 'waif of a girl' she had been talking about. The mutual respect they shared was obvious for all to see.

Three formers students of Tiglin also discussed how the Teen Challenge had totally turned their lives around.