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Massive rise in prisoner drug and alcohol treatment

Hon Anne Tolley
Minister of Corrections

5 March 2014

Massive rise in prisoner drug and alcohol treatment

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says there has been a rise of almost 1500 per cent in places on drug and alcohol treatment programmes for prisoners since 2008.

This financial year over 3,700 prisoners will have access to treatment for their addictions, rising to 4,700 next year, up from just 234 in 2007/08.

The Government has expanded the number of specialist Drug Treatment Units in prisons from six to nine, while there has been a fourfold increase in places at the Units. In addition, since last year all prisons have introduced brief and intermediate treatment programmes and Northland and Auckland Women’s have begun intensive support, as part of the drive to reduce reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017.

Corrections has so far reduced reoffending by 11.8 per cent, resulting in 8668 fewer victims of crime each year.

“The revolution in offender rehabilitation is going from strength to strength in the key areas of addiction treatment, education and skills training,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Support for prisoners tackling drug and alcohol abuse is just common sense, as we know that these addictions are a major driver of crime.

“All prisoners are now screened for alcohol and drug problems when they enter prison, which allows staff to make appropriate decisions on the amount of support required. This means that every prisoner now undergoes screening for addictions, health, mental health and education when they enter a facility.

“The latest analysis shows that over half of the current prison muster has problems with drug and alcohol.

“The vast majority of prisoners are released back into communities. If we can give them the opportunity to change their lives around while inside prison, and access education and employment skills training, then they will have the tools to stay away from crime when they are released.

“This will make our communities safer, and ensure we reach our target of 18,500 fewer victims of crime each year by 2017.”

ENDS

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