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Prisoners' Release: Drugs

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 242116, tabled on 8 April 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) male and (b) female prisoners servicing sentences of over six months with a substance misuse need were released from custody in the quarter July to September 2018.

Answered on

16 April 2019

The MoJ does not hold information on the number of male and female prisoners with a substance misuse need serving either (a) a sentence of six months of less or (b) a sentence of six months or more released from custody between July to September 2018.

NHS England commission health care services in prison and therefore hold data on the number of prisoners with an identified substance misuse need. NHS England do not hold data on the length of a prisoner’s sentence though and it is not currently possible to cross-reference the two data sets. In their Long Term Plan, NHS England have proposed introducing a ‘RECONNECT’ service to improve continuity of care from custody. The Ministry of Justice and HMPPS are working in close partnership with NHS England to implement this plan.

There is persuasive evidence showing community sentences, in certain circumstances, are more effective than short custodial sentences in reducing reoffending.

Unless we tackle the underlying causes of offending, we cannot protect the public from being victims of crime. Effective community orders can address offenders’ behaviour, answer their mental health and alcohol or drug misuse needs, and provide reparation for the benefit of the wider community.

We are developing a Community Sentence Treatment Requirement ‘protocol’ to ensure improved access to mental health and substance misuse services for offenders who need them. It focuses on reducing reoffending by addressing the health needs of offenders that may be contributing to their offending behaviour.