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Prisoners Release: Drugs

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners died of a drugs overdose or drugs related illness while on early release in each of the last three years. (157844)

A comprehensive treatment framework is available in prisons to address the problems caused by substance misuse. This includes:

clinical interventions;

CARATs (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare service);

intensive drug treatment programmes.

CARAT teams offer harm minimisation advice and work closely with the Drug Interventions Programme and Offender Managers in making the necessary throughcare arrangements to ensure continuity of drug treatment on release.

Drug users can experience a reduced tolerance to drugs from their time in custody, which can increase the risk of drug related overdose on release. The prison treatment framework is designed to reduce that risk.

Improved quality of clinical treatment is being introduced in 53 prisons through IDTS1, which will see maintenance prescribing much more widely used according to need and will reduce considerably the risk of overdose on release.

The information requested is not directly available. The latest research shows that newly-released prisoners are at considerably increased risk of a drugs overdose compared to their peers in the community, particularly in the first two weeks after release.

However, the research relates to a period prior to the introduction of the treatment framework and does not reflect the most recent advances in prison treatment.

1 Integrated Drug Treatment System