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Drug Addiction in Prisons

Volume 563: debated on Tuesday 21 May 2013

The Government are committed to helping prisoners with a drug dependency to live drug-free lives. We are working with health services to reshape drug treatment in prisons, establish wings in prisons that focus on recovery and abstinence, and connect offenders with community drug recovery services in custody and on release. We are also keen to use our new reforms, particularly the through-the-gate provision and the reconfiguration of the prison estate, to build on that collaboration.

I thank the Minister for that answer. The Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust estimates that if just 10% of drug-addicted prisoners received abstinence-based rehabilitation, we might be able to save almost half a billion pounds a year. What progress has been made on replacing methadone prescriptions with abstinence programmes in our jails?

I entirely agree that we need to see more abstinence from drugs. My hon. Friend will know that one of the obstacles to proceeding down that path with many drug-addicted offenders is that they stay in prison for a very short period and there is no confidence about what happens when they leave custody. [Interruption.] Our through-the-gate reforms mean that we will be able to move more offenders on to that pathway much more quickly and be confident that they will be supported when they leave custody.

We all heard the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) say, “Lock ’em up for longer”. If he was worried that his tone was untypically muted, his worry was groundless.