Minister opens expanded prison drug treatment unit

Friday 24 August 2012, 4:04PM
By Anne Tolley

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has officially opened the expanded drug and alcohol treatment unit at Hawke’s Bay Prison, as part of the Government’s target of reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017.

A new intensive addiction programme for low security segregated prisoners will see an extra 120 offenders receive treatment each year at the prison.

Across the country, 33,100 additional offenders will receive new and expanded drug and alcohol treatment in prisons and in the community, an increase of almost 500 per cent.

“Tackling drug and alcohol addiction is vital in reducing reoffending and reaching our target of 18,500 fewer victims of crime every year by 2017,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Two-thirds of prisoners have substance abuse problems and we know that addiction is a major driver of crime.

“With our radical increase in drug and alcohol treatment, and reprioritised funding of $65 million in Budget 2012, we are investing in programmes which we know will make a real difference and lead to safer communities.

“The Corrections Department’s Drug Treatment Units have been shown to reduce reoffending by up to a third, and research shows that for every dollar spent on treatment programmes there is a $4-$7 reduction in the cost of associated alcohol and drug-related crimes.

“To break the vicious cycle of prison and reoffending we are also investing in new and expanded rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, alongside an increase in education, skills training and employment programmes.

“Offenders must be made accountable for their crimes, but the vast majority will be released.

“That is why we are doing much more to rehabilitate, and then reintegrate, to steer them away from a return to crime.”