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Prisoners: Drugs

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government intend to take to reduce re-offending rates by reducing the rate of prisoner dependency on drugs. (186296)

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has in place a comprehensive strategy to address the misuse of drugs by offenders serving custodial sentences. The strategy for prisons has a three-way focus:

reducing supply, through security measures and drug testing programmes;

reducing demand, through targeted interventions for low, moderate and severe drug-misusers; and

establishing effective through-care links to ensure continuity of treatment post-release in order to safeguard the gains made in custody.

NOMS’ comprehensive drug treatment framework, based on the National Treatment Agency’s revised Models of Care, addresses the different needs of drug-misusers in prison. Interventions comprise:

Clinical services, detoxification and/or maintenance prescribing

CARATs (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Through-care service)—lower-level interventions that, following assessment, deliver treatment and support. CARATs take the lead Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) role in prisons, engaging with prison resettlement teams and Criminal Justice Integrated Teams (CJITs) in the community

Drug Rehabilitation Programmes

The Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS) will bring considerable improvements to the quality of prison treatment. With £18.7 million invested in 2007-08, around 24,500 prisoners annually will benefit from improved quality clinical treatment.

Offenders who are released on licence may have conditions attached to their licence that require them to address their problem with drugs. Prolific and other priority offenders who are released on licence may be required to submit to drug tests.