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Drugs: Decriminalisation

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 23966, tabled on 25 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to provide alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people with drug-use disorders and to encourage alternatives to imprisonment facilitating the eventual rehabilitation, re-skilling and reintegration of drug users.

Answered on

2 February 2016

We are currently trialling ‘Liaison and Diversion’ services. These services place health professionals at police stations and courts to assess suspects for a range of health problems, including drug misuse, and make referrals to treatment and support. Information shared with the criminal justice system can be used to inform decisions, supporting diversion into treatment as part of an alternative to charge or to custody where appropriate.

We are also interested in problem-solving courts, such as drug courts, given evidence of success in other jurisdictions. Officials are now working with members of the judiciary to consider how the problem-solving approach might be developed for England and Wales.