To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to improve support for prisoners with drug dependency when they are released from prison.
We are developing a Community Sentence Treatment Requirement ‘protocol’ to ensure improved access to mental health and substance misuse services for offenders who need them. It focuses on reducing reoffending by addressing the health needs of offenders that may be contributing to their offending behaviour.
Our prisons also seek to reduce reoffending through rehabilitation and overcoming substance misuse problems is a key enabler of this. To support this, on 3rd April we published a national Prison Drugs Strategy which includes guidance to restrict supply, reduce demand and build recovery as well as examples of best practice to support prisoners with substance misuse issues.
Our duty of care and responsibility doesn’t stop when a prisoner leaves prison. We are working with health partners to increase support for offenders leaving prison and are investing an additional £22m per annum over the remaining life of the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) contracts to ensure that CRCs deliver an enhanced Through The Gate service to offenders leaving prison. In their Long Term Plan, NHS England have proposed introducing a ‘RECONNECT’ service to improve continuity of care from custody. The Ministry of Justice and HMPPS are working in close partnership with NHS England to implement this plan.