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Gambling Addiction

Volume 457: debated on Monday 19 February 2007

There are no plans to develop specific programmes to address gambling addiction. However, we constantly review provision across the range of offender needs with a view to identifying gaps. Factors likely to be relevant to gambling problems are addressed within general offending behaviour programmes such as enhanced thinking skills. Use is also made of specialist organisations such as Gamblers Anonymous.

One of my constituents has now been in prison for six months without receiving any treatment. Given the increase in online gambling, the proposed new casinos and the fact that a proportion of compulsive gamblers are likely to commit crimes to feed their habit, should there not be a coherent plan in place before the problems become any greater?

It is a question of proportionality. Less than 1 per cent. of the prison population have gambling problems, but that is not to say that we should not tackle those problems, and Gamblers Anonymous is present in 50 per cent. of our prisons. I hope that the hon. Lady and other Opposition Members support the Offender Management Bill, which will deal with those issues by looking at the requirements of individual offenders. Rather than talk about the problem, I hope that the Opposition parties will support us in our efforts to deliver offender management programmes that rehabilitate offenders.