Prisons: Drugs

Department of Health written question – answered on 17th March 2015.

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Photo of George Hollingbery George Hollingbery Conservative, Meon Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department has taken to improve drug treatment in prisons.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

Across government, we have sought new ways to help rehabilitate offenders from drug dependency to live drug and crime free lives. As part of this, wing-based, abstinence-focused, drug recovery services have been piloted. These focus on providing dedicated prison accommodation, treatment and support to those who are dependent on drugs and alcohol while in custody and connecting them with community support on release.

Building on the drug recovery wing ethos, the Department and Ministry of Justice have jointly funded an initiative to improve the “through the gate” provision for prisoners who are dependent on drugs and alcohol. Ten prisons in the North West are currently piloting a range of innovative interventions to provide more intensive support and supervision for people leaving custody which include the use of peer mentors, recovery housing services and take-home naloxone as they return to the community. The learning from this approach will be used to inform wider roll-out in the new system in line with implementation of the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme.

The Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS) programme, implemented in prisons between 2006 and 2010, sought to improve the standard and quality of drug treatment in prisons. Through IDTS, prisoners could get access to evidence-based opioid substitution treatment in prison, which they could continue in the community after release. The principles of IDTS continue to be adopted by partners responsible for commissioning health services.

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