A 1500% increase in drug and alcohol treatment for prisoners

March 6th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Anne Tolley has said:

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says there has been a rise of almost 1500 per cent in places on drug and alcohol treatment programmes for prisoners since 2008.

This financial year over 3,700 prisoners will have access to treatment for their addictions, rising to 4,700 next year, up from just 234 in 2007/08.

The Government has expanded the number of specialist Drug Treatment Units in prisons from six to nine, while there has been a fourfold increase in places at the Units. In addition, since last year all prisons have introduced brief and intermediate treatment programmes and Northland and Auckland Women’s have begun intensive support, as part of the drive to reduce reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017.

Corrections has so far reduced reoffending by 11.8 per cent, resulting in 8668 fewer victims of crime each year.

“The revolution in offender is going from strength to strength in the key areas of addiction treatment, education and skills training,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Support for prisoners tackling drug and alcohol abuse is just common sense, as we know that these addictions are a major driver of crime.

“All prisoners are now screened for alcohol and drug problems when they enter prison, which allows staff to make appropriate decisions on the amount of support required. This means that every prisoner now undergoes screening for addictions, health, mental health and education when they enter a facility.

When a criminal keeps reoffending, we need to take a hard line and keep them locked up to protect the community. But absolutely we should be investing in treatment to reduce reoffending as that is a win-win. It’s great to see the Government investing so much in drug and alcohol treatment and reducing reoffending.

Tags: ,

26 Responses to “A 1500% increase in drug and alcohol treatment for prisoners”

  1. duggledog (1,424 comments) says:

    I’d say it would be much, much easier and simpler to send NZ prisoners to China for their incarceration. And so much cheaper too. Here’s the deal, you do half the lag you would here, over there.

    Recidivism rate drops by 99%. In the spirit of closer ties etc. God the Chinese must shake their heads in disbelief at us sometimes

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. JMS (313 comments) says:

    A win-win (and much cheaper) would be free heroin for all prisoners.
    Would cut prison violence.
    Would cut prison numbers.
    Soon to be released prisoners normally intent on re-offending would either be too fucked to do so, or much easier to re-apprehend.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. iMP (2,331 comments) says:

    And then legalise marijuanna alongside synthetic cannabis for when they get out? No wonder its a 1500% increase.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Judith (8,341 comments) says:

    Great that so many more are attending the courses – great for statistics to inflate the politicians egos.

    Sadly, unless a person is open to receiving assistance and willing to change their habits, attending a course simply because they are made to, wish to escape work duties, or have it look good on their parole applications – very seldom has positive results. As soon as they are back on the outside (or in some cases whilst still on the inside) they continue their addictive habits.

    I doubt anymore prisoners are being reformed by this increase, than there were before it… I’m happy to be proved wrong – and its great the Corrections Dept is starting to take rehabilitation seriously – but when it comes to addiction – numbers mean nothing, its results that count.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. JMS (313 comments) says:

    @duggledog

    China is actually very soft on its worst criminals.
    They have government jobs and live in palaces.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. greybeard (57 comments) says:

    DPF, you say “It’s great to see the Government investing so much in drug and alcohol treatment and reducing reoffending.”
    So how do you reconcile that statement with this article from this morning ?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9795116/Army-winds-down-its-drug-testing

    [DPF: Umm soliders are not prisoners. I don't see what there is in common between funding drug rehab to reduce crime and the decision of an employer to have less drug testing among their employees]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. mandk (872 comments) says:

    @ Judith,

    And your solution is…..?

    Or to put it another way: What would Tojo do?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. ChardonnayGuy (1,179 comments) says:

    It certainly is, but what about prisoners with mental health problems? As well as those with co-existing mental health and substance abuse problems?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Harriet (4,614 comments) says:

    LOL Shoddygayguy – by changing the topic you’re just trying to get away from the fact that this financial year there is a budget for over 3,700 prisoners to get on drug programmes – while 37,000 people outside prison who are drug addicts arn’t on them!!

    And you support the stupid idea of legalising drugs!

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Elaycee (4,331 comments) says:

    Sadly, in this country we now have an ever increasing number of ‘counsellors’ who have created a gravy train from cuddling and hugging our criminals and assuring them it’s not their fault they went bad because… [insert excuse here].

    Adults make their own decisions. Actions have consequences. Prisons are supposed to be for punishment. Not a place where morons can go on a holiday that includes free lodgings / free catering / free education / free gym membership / free utilities / free library / free uniform / TV / and where they can receive ‘counselling’ courtesy of taxpayer money being thrown at ‘drug rehab’…

    Our prisons are currently a joke – I can still hear the howls of outrage from the panty waists when the Minister announced she was going to introduce ‘container style’ cells and double bunking. FFS – they are prisons! And not the Hilton.

    What happened to ‘cold turkey’? At least there would be no (additional) cost to the taxpayer.

    And if some of these prisoners have to experience a little ‘pain’ to get themselves off shit no-one forced them to take in the first place – unlucky.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Judith (8,341 comments) says:

    @ mandk (576 comments) says:
    March 6th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I don’t know what the solution is Mandk.

    We have to keep trying, there has to be access to assistance to those who generally wish to turn their lives around. I hate seeing that assistance being abused and used as a means to manipulate the system, by those that have no intention of rejecting their illicit lifestyle, though.

    It is my belief that as long as a person is taking mind altering drugs, they cannot be rehabilitated (an exception to that is of course prescribed medication for actual illness such as schizophrenia, bi-polar etc.)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. RRM (9,630 comments) says:

    I noticed Phil Ure was pointing this out on The Standard yesterday.

    When that guy is singing the praises of the National Government, you know Labour is in a bad way! :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Judith (8,341 comments) says:

    @ Elaycee (3,875 comments) says:
    March 6th, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I agree with some of what you say there, just one thing I’d like to comment on is the ‘double bunking’.

    Many prisoners actually do better, especially young offenders, when they have restricted access to other prisoners. A person bunking with a cell mate for extended periods can really influence some young people. In some instances it is better to keep them isolated and with minimal contact with others. If they become used to the ‘social’ environment in prison, they are also at risk of picking up worse criminal behaviours from more experienced offenders.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Chris2 (767 comments) says:

    If a person is locked up they don’t have access to drugs and alcohol, so why are we paying to treat a problem that will clear up on its own whilst they are in prison?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. big bruv (13,548 comments) says:

    Fucking great!

    Once again I am having to pay for other peoples lifestyle choices.

    Cold turkey or nothing. If they have to double or triple bunk then tough luck, keep the scum locked up for as long as is required.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. ChardonnayGuy (1,179 comments) says:

    Hurriut:

    You do realise that regulating and insuring that consumption intravenous and other consumption of recreational drugs occurs safely insures that addiction doesn’t occur, don’t you? Do Portugal, the Netherlands and Switzerland strike you as particularly troubled by IV drug-user petty theft and burglary to pay for their habits, drug overdoses or organised criminal activities that run illicit drug distribution networks?

    Two words. Schlapelle. Corby (Wot a Schlapper!!!) Your fellow Queenslander.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Elaycee (3,877 comments) says:
    March 6th, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Adults make their own decisions. Actions have consequences. Prisons are supposed to be for punishment.

    No, prisons are supposed to enhance public safety. They are not for your amusement.


    Relapse is defined as a new prison sentence or community sanction that became legally binding within two years of release from prison or from commencement of the community sanction in 2005. The survey comprises a total of almost 60 000 offenders in the Nordic countries. The study shows that Norway has the lowest overall reoffending rate among correctional clients in the Nordic countries, 20 %. In the other Nordic countries the overall reoffending rate varies from 24 % to 31 %.

    http://www3.unil.ch/wpmu/space/publications/recidivism-studies/


    Among nearly 300,000 prisoners released in 15 states in 1994, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years. A study of prisoners released in 1983 estimated 62.5%.

    http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=17

    The problem is your first premise is fundamentally flawed: humans do not actually “make their own decisions”. Human decisions are influenced heavily by their environment and ingrained behavoural patterns that are not corrected through the application of pain. If pain were the best teacher then would you expect violence to be the solution for correcting child behaviour? The evidence does not support this view.

    Indeed drug abuse is a good example of how human decision making can be corrupted by environmental influences. Drug abuse is painful but such pain doesn’t cause people to make the rational decision, rather they tend to follow the patterns that the drug induces by altering the reward pathways in the brain.

    But alas, simple people long for simple solutions.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Chris2 (690 comments) says:
    March 6th, 2014 at 11:29 am

    If a person is locked up they don’t have access to drugs and alcohol…

    lol.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    iMP (2,060 comments) says:
    March 6th, 2014 at 8:01 am

    And then legalise marijuanna alongside synthetic cannabis for when they get out? No wonder its a 1500% increase.

    Cannabis is illegal. You seem to blame the increase on something that hasn’t happened. Interesting logic.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Judith (5,033 comments) says:
    March 6th, 2014 at 9:33 am

    It is my belief that as long as a person is taking mind altering drugs, they cannot be rehabilitated…

    Agreed. Substance abuse is likely a symptom of other problems but getting off the drugs would enhance their prospects of changing their other habits and attitudes.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Muzza M (291 comments) says:

    Can someone out there explain to me why it is that prisoners who are “addicted” to opiates are given daily methadone, but alcoholic prisoners are not given a couple of shots of whiskey? The symptoms of withdrawal from these “addictions” are equally unpleasant.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Monique Angel (262 comments) says:

    What a load if shite proving Tolley is a lightweight and a soft touch. I’ve been in a DTU as a volunteer and none of the prisoners give a shit about the ‘programme’

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Monique Angel (213 comments) says:
    March 6th, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    What a load if shite proving Tolley is a lightweight and a soft touch. I’ve been in a DTU as a volunteer and none of the prisoners give a shit about the ‘programme’

    So people in prison are generally dysfunctional and not nice people.

    Surely you didn’t need first hand experience to work that out. The stats however appear to show actual results:

    http://carenz.org.nz/outcome-research/
    http://carenz.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/Drug-Treatment-Units-Statistics.doc

    Drug treatment units resulted in a 10% reduction in re-imprisonment rates after 12 months and a 31% reduction in the seriousness of any re-offending. For Maori participants in the DTUs the reduction in re-imprisonment was 17% and the reduction in seriousness was 33%.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. corrigenda (142 comments) says:

    FFS. The reason prisoners are seeking help with addictions is because smoking is now banned in prison. The increase is 99.9999% due to the fact no cigarettes or tobacco are allowed. Nothing whatsoever (or very little) to do with any other drugs. It is tobacco addiction being treated. End of story!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. ChardonnayGuy (1,179 comments) says:

    Actually, Corrigenda, sorry but that’s an oversimplification. In the case of P/crystal methamphetamine, the pharmacological qualities of the substance in question are such that it is intensively addictive, and, as a Class A Misuse of Drugs Act scheduled item, it is also lucrative for organised criminal interests to peddle. Some of them partake of the illicit substance in question and get hooked, which is unfortunately quite easy. Ask anyone from Corrections or Police- they’ll tell you that methed up gang members are a serious problem in terms of health and public safety.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. corrigenda (142 comments) says:

    Sorry Chardonnay Guy. My info comes from an ex prisoner. Straight from the horse’s mouth you might say!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.