The government is to roll out ‘up to’ 18 new drug recovery wings in prisons across England and Wales by 2025, it has announced, as well as increasing the number of ‘incentivised substance-free’ (ISF) living units from 25 to 100.
Prisoners in the ISF units will be regularly drug tested but will also receive peer support and incentives such as extra gym time to reward progress. They can then move to the new recovery wings for six months of further intensive treatment, where they will be encouraged to work towards abstinence from all drugs including substitute medications.
The approach will ‘follow them through the prison gate, with offenders kept under closer control in the community with more drug testing, treatment and extra support to kick their addictions’, the government states. Fifty ‘health and justice partnership co-ordinators’ will also work between prisons, probation and treatment providers to help ensure the smooth transfer of treatment plans from prison to the community.
The announcement comes a week after the government said it would be introducing ‘problem-solving courts’ that would involve ‘random, frequent’ drug testing (https://www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/time-for-a-complete-culture-change-says-drug-deaths-taskforces-final-report). The £120m funding for the recovery wings, ISF units and problem-solving courts comes from that already announced as part of the ten-year drugs strategy. ‘Our plan will get offenders into rehab earlier, get them off all drugs permanently and support prisoners once they’re released into the community,’ said justice secretary Dominic Raab.