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Prisoners: Drugs

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research the Government have (a) undertaken, (b) commissioned and (c) reviewed into the cost-effectiveness of imprisoning dependent drug users for non-violent offences. (154332)

There has been no Home Office or Ministry of Justice research commissioned specifically to look directly at the cost-effectiveness of imprisoning dependent drug users for non-violent offences. However, there is currently an extensive programme of research planned for the forthcoming year that will evaluate the impact of specific CJS/NOMS interventions on re-offending and what value for money they offer. The output from this research will help shape priorities across the CJS in terms of where resources are likely to be most effectively targeted for protecting the public and reducing re-offending.

In addition, findings from a new study of drug treatment in the community (DTORS) will be published later in 2007. This study includes dependent users in treatment who have been referred via both CJS and non-CJS routes. Information on drug treatment in the community can provide valuable lessons to be learnt for treating dependent drug users in prison and the cost effectiveness of such treatment.

Finally, I refer the hon. Member to 9 March 2007, Official Report, column 2315W, in which the former Home Office Minister—my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Sutcliffe)—outlined the programme of research in place to evaluate CJS/NOMS interventions on re-offending; and 9 July 2007, Official Report, column 1319W, in which the Home Secretary outlined some of the many measures in place to address drug-related crime.