Service providers are being sought to support New Zealand’s first Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Court pilot, Justice Minister Judith Collins and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced today.
Mr Dunne said the Ministry of Health has issued a Request for Proposal for drug and alcohol treatment organisations to provide a range of specialist services for offenders – including drug and alcohol screening, community-based treatment and drug testing services.
Ms Collins said the pilot court will have the capacity to deal with around 100 defendants a year.
“Sixty five per cent of sentenced prisoners identify as having some form of alcohol or drug related issues.
“Offenders accepted in to the court pilot will be strictly supervised, receive intensive treatment, undergo regular drug and alcohol testing and will have to regularly front up to the court to show their progress,” Ms Collins said.
To be considered, defendants must plead guilty to the crime they are charged with, be facing a term of imprisonment of less than three years and have a severe dependency. The success or otherwise of the treatment along with other factors could have an impact on sentencing.
The AOD pilot is part of a wider $10 million a year alcohol and other drug treatment funding package run through the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice as part of the Government’s Addressing the Drivers of Crime programme, with collaboration from New Zealand Police, the Judiciary and the Department of Corrections.
The court will begin sitting in the Waitakere and Auckland District Courts in November.