8 Oct 2010
The first group of prisoners at Auckland Prison’s new Drug Treatment Unit have this week begun a three month intensive programme aimed at reducing their misuse of alcohol and drugs.
The new unit will be officially opened by Corrections Minister Hon Judith Collins in November and will be the first Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) to operate in the greater Auckland area. It forms part of the commitment to increase the number of addiction treatment programme places in prisons from 500 to 1000 by the end of 2011.
“Ultimately, prisoners who succeed on this programme will have a reduced likelihood of reoffending, making our communities safer,” says Dr Brendan Anstiss, Assistant General Manager Prison Services.
“The continued misuse of drugs and alcohol by offenders undermines the integrity of their sentences and compromises their ability to make positive changes in their lives. Ongoing abuse of substances also increases the chances that they will reoffend after leaving prison.”
“Drugs and alcohol are a major driver of crime. In 2007 seven out of ten offenders apprehended by Police were under the influence of drugs leading up to their arrest,” says Dr Anstiss.
The 12 week prison programme is run by clinical staff from the Odyssey House Auckland Trust and is targeted at prisoners serving shorter prison sentences of between four and twelve months. At any time there will be 48 prisoners at various phases of the programme, with a maximum of 12 prisoners in each phase.
Odyssey House Auckland have been a provider of drug, alcohol and gambling addiction treatment in New Zealand communities since 1980.
CEO of the Trust, Christine Kalin says to be accepted on the programme prisoners must acknowledge they have an addiction and accept they need to do something about it.
“The unit will operate as a therapeutic community within the prison environment. It is not directed at substance abuse in isolation, but considers the whole person. Social, emotional, behavioural, and cognitive problems often precede drug use and are made worse by continued drug abuse,” she says.
“The treatment aims to instil maturity and appropriate values in a person, and help them to maintain a responsible drug-free lifestyle. It also assists in changing negative patterns of behaviour and feelings that influence drug use. Prisoners develop a comprehensive relapse prevention plan during treatment to assist their release from prison.”
Notes to journalists:
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