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Prisoner drug units will produce results

Hon Damien O’Connor
Minister of Corrections,
Minister of Tourism,
Minister for Rural Affairs,
Associate Minister of Health

10 October, 2006
Media Statement

Additional prisoner drug treatment units will produce results

A drug treatment unit opened today in Christchurch Prison will go a long way to helping addicted prisoners go straight in future, Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

“The unit is an example of the increased focus the Government is placing on providing addiction treatment services for offenders as part of the Effective Interventions package, in order to reduce re-offending,” Mr O’Connor said.

It is the third such unit in the prison system, and over the next 18 months three further units will be added, Mr O'Connor said.

“When you consider that 60 per cent of offenders are affected by alcohol or other drugs at the time of their offence, the potential for facilities such as these to reduce re-offending is evident.

"Research shows that offenders who have been through a treatment unit are 13 per cent less likely to be re-imprisoned after 24 months than if they had not attended treatment."

The addiction treatment programme will be run by Care NZ, which has provided services at Arohata and Waikeria Prison’s Drug Treatment Units for the past seven years.

New Zealand has come a long way since the late 1990s when there was only one unit in operation, at Arohata Prison in Wellington, Mr O'Connor said.

"Through this investment by the Labour-led Government, up to 550 prisoners per year will, by 2008/2009, be able to receive the kind of intensive treatment that is essential for them to turn their lives around."

Such programmes provide value for money and will make our communities safer, Mr O'Connor said.

ENDS

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