Prisons: Drugs

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon UUP, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much funding was allocated to drugs treatment for prisoners in Northern Ireland in each of the past six years; and how many prisoners received drugs treatment in each Northern Ireland prison over the same period.

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office

The information is not available in the form requested. It is not possible to differentiate between resources allocated and prisoners participating in programmes for drugs or alcohol misuse. The Prison Service has contracts with three community voluntary support groups to provide counselling services to prisoners who have abused substances.

Information about the financial support given to the groups is only available for the past five years as follows:

2002-03 294
2003-04 379
2004-05 472
2005-06 551
2006-07 to February 386
Total 2,082

The number of prisoners facilitated is as follows:

2002-03 (1)914
2003-04 (1)
2004-05 443
2005-06 496
2006-07 to February 466
Total 2,319

The NT Prison Service also has a policy of continuing community substitution programmes when a prisoner is committed to prison; this has been in place since September 2004. This aspect cannot be accurately costed as much depends on the drug and dosage used and the length of time that the individual is kept on the programme—some will still be on it when discharged. The number of prisoners involved is as follows:

2004 14
2005 19
2006 23
2007 to February 5
Total 61

In addition, the Prison Service has a detailed detoxification protocol which sets out recommendations for treatment and support to prisoners who allege that they are addicted to drugs or alcohol but who are not participating in a community substitution programme. It is not possible to put a cost against such treatments or identify the number of prisoners treated.

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