My right honourable friend the Minister of State (David Hanson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Tackling drug issues remains a key priority for Government. In the past 12 years prison drug treatment funding has risen year on year and now stands at over 13 times that of 1997. In this time drug use in prison, as tested by random mandatory drug tests, has fallen by 63 per cent. In the community the use of drug rehabilitation requirements (DRRs) has also risen, with courts using them in over 16,000 community orders in 2007-08. Now we need to look at the next steps.
In the 2008 drug strategy Drugs—Protecting Families and Communities the Government announced that the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) would develop a new NOMS drug strategy to complement the national strategy and provide a framework for responding to drug misuse among offenders.
I am today announcing the publication of the NOMS drug strategy, which draws together the broad range of actions that NOMS and its partners in the public, private and third sectors are taking to build upon the considerable progress we have made in tackling offenders who misuse drugs. This includes:
continuing to improve the quality of prison drug treatment by further rolling-out the integrated drug treatment system across the prison estate; and
increasing the provision of wings within the prison estate where prisoners who are committed to leading drug-free lives can gain the extra motivation and support that they need.
The strategy also builds on the progress we have made in implementing the recommendations in the Blakey report, Disrupting the Supply of Illicit Drugs into Prisons, published in July 2008. I will report to the House shortly on progress with this report.
Addressing drug misuse among offenders is a vital component of NOMS’ wider vision to protect the public and reduce reoffending, not only by carrying out the punishments ordered by the courts, but also by addressing the causes of criminal behaviour, helping rehabilitate and resettle offenders into law-abiding lives.
Copies of the strategy and its supporting documents will be placed in the Library of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.