RAPt Responds to Justice Secretary’s Prison Announcement

Published 3 November 2016

Mike Trace, RAPt CEO, said: “Prisons are struggling with unprecedented levels of violence and drug use. It’s vital that the prison drug market is undermined, and the key  is to expand access to effective evidence based drug treatment.  Whilst today’s announcement outlines measures to reduce the supply of drugs, more must be done to reduce the demand. More than half of new arrivals in prison are daily users of drugs, or dependent on alcohol. Most seek to continue using inside and, if a way isn’t found to turn them away from the dealer and towards treatment and recovery, their demand fuels the profits of the gangs, which itself is behind most of the violence, disorder, and health emergencies in prison today.’

We call on the new Secretary of State for Justice to tackle the issue by prioritising effective drug treatment in the criminal justice system.”


Whilst reducing access to drugs will assist the problem we need to tackle addiction.
Over half of all prisoners (55%) report committing offences connected to their drug taking

Independent research shows that RAPt’s intensive rehabilitation treatment programme leads to a 20% reduction in the numbers of released prisoners re-offending, and a 65% reduction in overall number of offences.

Only 600 prisoners per year get access to these programmes, less than half of the number just 4 years ago. This represents less than 2% of the number of prisoners who could use their time in custody to get treatment and recovery.

RAPt welcomes the Minister’s plans to modernise the prison estate and calls on her to seize the opportunity to prioritise rehabilitation through the development of more wings dedicated to recovery from addiction. RAPt currently run seven ‘recovery wings’ in prisons, where RAPt sees a significant reduction in violence against staff and fellow inmates.

Recovery wings are where prisoners are committed to a drug free environment, achieved through a combination of security, testing and incentives alongside intensive programmes that work with prisoners with the aim of stopping drug use completely and staying drug free.

Despite the scale of the problem, less than 2% of drug or alcohol dependent prisoners have access to this full intensive rehabilitation treatment. Yet for every 100 people completing this programme an estimated £6.3million is saved on reduced crime and re-sentencing.  Making the programme available to just 10% of drug dependent prisoners would equate to potential savings of £440million a year.