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New prisoner drug and alcohol addiction programmes

Hon Damien O'Connor
Minister of Corrections

19 June, 2006 Media Statement

New prisoner drug and alcohol addiction programmes will help reduce re-offending rates – O'Connor

A third drug and alcohol treatment unit, at Christchurch Prison, spearheads several Corrections initiatives that will help prisoners with addiction problems, Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor says.

Recruitment is underway for staff at the new unit which will provide treatment therapy to 100 prisoners a year.

"Prisoners will be accepted on the basis of their motivation to change and they will be housed in the same prison unit during treatment," Mr O’Connor said.

"The Corrections Department is also considering options for the development of another unit at a prison in the lower half of the North Island and this will take the total units operated by the department to four from the two at present," he said.

"At the same time, the annual throughput at the existing Waikeria Prison programme is also to be doubled to 100 prisoners a year."

Corrections currently runs 24-week programmes that can take 44 prisoners at any one time at drug and alcohol units at Arohata and Waikeria Prisons.

"Treatment programmes only succeed when prisoners genuinely want to overcome their addictions. But I believe they should be available to every prisoner who wants to make a change, and it’s my intention that they will be," Mr O’Connor said.

A four-year contract with drug and alcohol counselling provider Care NZ to run the Christchurch and existing drug treatment units was signed this month.

"Drug and alcohol abuse play a big part in the path to prison and these programmes have been shown to be valuable in reducing reoffending," Mr O’Connor said.

ENDS

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