Cameron must back prison drug rehab to ‘make prison work.’

> 22/10/2012

The prime minister must back investment in prison drug and alcohol treatment to achieve guaranteed rehabilitation of offenders during prison sentences.

RAPt, the largest provider of drug and alcohol treatment programs in prisons in England and Wales, has today renewed its call on the prime minister David Cameron to ensure evidence-based drug and alcohol recovery programmes are offered to all addicted offenders in prisons, after he set-out his determination that ‘prisons should work for offenders.’

The Charity has moved to remind the Prime Minister of its proven success at rehabilitating offenders in prisons, following his speech today setting out how prisons can and should offer effective rehabilitation to ‘change the way offenders live’, in addition to punishment.
RAPt’s intensive drug and alcohol treatment programmes success at transforming lives has been backed up by results: the charity’s analysis of police data - which was reviewed and verified by Manchester University - showed that less than one third (31%) of substance misusing prisoners who completed a RAPt program while in prison had reoffended within 12 months of release, compared with a predicted reoffending rate of over 70%.

Meanwhile, over half (51%) of those who had undergone other types of treatment were reconvicted in the same period.

However, despite such strong evidence, and studies linking a large amount of crime to substance misuse, less than 3% of prisoners identified with a drug problem currently get access to these proven programmes.

RAPt chief executive and former deputy drugs Czar Mike Trace said:

‘We welcome that David Cameron has made clear his determination to focus on ‘making prison work’ using effective rehabilitation, but this policy will only work if the government scales up its commitment to drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes in prisons that actually succeed in reducing reoffending. It is clear from our analysis that ensuring prisoners get access to good quality drug treatment programmes will significantly help deliver the results he seeks.

“An intensive recovery approach cuts costs as well as crime. For every 100 individuals, the RAPt programme saves £6.3 million on re-sentencing and re-incarcerating.  This would equate to savings of £440 million a year if the programme was offered to just 10% of drug dependent prisoners.

We look forward to working with the Prime Minister and his new Justice Secretary to expand offender treatment programmes that work,” he added.