These are outstanding outcomes and demonstrate the importance of a recovery-oriented treatment approach as a long term solution to tackling drug-related crime; interestingly, reconviction rates for RAPt graduates go down further in the second year post-release. Unfortunately, less than 2% of the prison population who currently need this sort of intensive intervention is receiving it. It remains to be seen if Michael Gove, the new Justice Secretary, can improve on that figure.
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Tags are what WordPress calls is keywords. I attach a small number of tags to every post to help people navigate between content with the same keywords. Tags may be people (David Gauke say), organisations (The Howard League, Revolving Doors Agency), themes (women offenders, homelessness) or specific items (heroin, cocaine, ROTL). If you’re looking to research a particular issue, they can be invaluable.
Bradley found that mental health and substance misuse services in prisons did not work well together and that this situation did not improve in the five years between his two reports. RAPt’s experience is that only the minority of inmates with acute mental health problems currently receive treatment in prison, with the majority having to cope with their problems in a hostile prison environment without dedicated support.
Changes in probation and substance misuse commissioning, combined with the very significant cuts to the prison system, have made it much more difficult for drug and/or alcohol dependent offenders to get the treatment which they need to achieve recovery, in which society needs to tackle crime.
The PHE report summarises our understanding of smoking in prison. On the one hand, limited access to tobacco can reduce how much and how often prisoners smoke as can the cost of tobacco for those surviving on a prison income.
Conversely, smoking is often seen as a coping strategy to manage the stress of imprisonment and helps to alleviate boredom. Not smoking in a culture where a large majority of people smoke can also be socially isolating. And, of course “Burn” remains one of the principal prison currencies.
At the moment our prisons are a ticking time bomb that could explode into violence without warning. Frontline staff shortages and overcrowding are contributing to this explosive and toxic environment. If I were Secretary of State for Justice my first priority would be to ensure that no prison in England and Wales has less staff than it needs to operate a safe, normal regime.
We cannot go on thinking we can imprison our way to a safer society, not only is it poor value for money for the taxpayer, it also fails to recognise the evidence already available that there are better and more cost effective ways to protect the public and reduce reoffending.
Although it is obvious that the main reason that such large quantities of drugs get into prison is to feed the demand of the many dependent drug users inside, it has long been a significant concern that as many as one in five heroin users took the drug for the first time in custody.
The Committee highlights under-resourcing again and says that unless staffing shortages are addressed and the backlog of risk assessments cleared, the new probation providers will be hampered “considerably” in their efforts to provide a better through-the-gate service and reduce reoffending.
Cuts in public expenditure have resulted in very well-publicised shortages of prison staff. It may well be that these figures fall in 2014/15 , not because there are less drugs getting into our prisons, but because there are less prison staff to detect them.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to compare Christmas lunch at public and private prisons as the MoJ only provided information on public sector prisons, although they helpfully provided contact details for contracted out establishments.
However, new mobile jamming equipment trialled in Scotland in Spring 2014 is reported to be more successful with just over 200 mobiles detected in HMP Shotts and HMP Glenochil during the first six weeks – more than double the amount confiscated in the whole of the previous year.