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Drugs In Prisons Reduced

The target to reduce the number of positive random drug tests to 20 percent over the past year has been achieved, says Matt Robson Minister of Corrections.

"This result shows that we're making good progress in our battle to eliminate drug use in prisons. We owe a lot to the professionalism of staff and their commitment to the drug reduction strategy."

The Department’s drug strategy is designed to reduce the supply of drugs into prison, the demand for drugs and the harm caused by drug abuse.

“This targeted approach works. Research shows that if you spend $1million on dedicated drug treatment, you will reduce the re-offending rate for serious crime fifteen times more than if you spend the same amount on only increasing prison sentences," says Matt Robson.

Corrections implemented a comprehensive testing programme in 1998, when positive random tests were at 35 percent. From June 2000 to June 2001 the Department caried out 2822 random tests, with 566 proving positive.

The Department also carries out other significant initiatives in conjunction with random testing aimed at reducing drug use.

“An 0800 Jail Safe number (0800 5240572) has been set up for inmates, inmates’ families, staff or the public so they can phone in if they have information relating to drugs in prisons. Often pressure is placed on inmates, staff and their families from both within and outside the prison to bring drugs into prisons.

“Visitor vehicle checkpoints also cut down the amount of drugs brought into prisons. The Department has five narcotics detection dog teams and crime prevention officers who often work with police to stop contraband entering our prisons.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to not only eliminate drug use in prisons, but work with inmates to address their drug and alcohol dependency problems. Many inmates have used drugs all their lives. Staff are aware of this and met the challenge through constant vigilance and monitoring of testing procedures," says Matt Robson.


Random drug testing figures by prison

Prison Random tests % positive
Auckland 383 18%
Mt Eden Male 107 27%
Mt Eden Female 16 6%
Waikeria 386 20%
Camps 232 16%
Ohura 50 8%
Hawkes Bay 326 25%
New Plymouth 51 25%
Wanganui 211 23%
Manawatu 91 24%
Arohata 64 12.5%
Wellington 60 13%
Rimutaka 206 30%
C/C/Male 362 21.5%
C/C/Female 46 4%
Rolleston 152 8.5%
Dunedin 12 0%
Invercargill 67 16%
Total
2822 20%

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Ends

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