Otago prisoners are among the rising number of inmates
taking drug and alcohol treatment programmes.
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said there had been a rise
of ''almost 1500%'' in places on such programmes nationwide
In the year ending June 30, more than 3700 prisoners would
have had access to treatment for their addictions, she said.
About 4700 prisoners would be able to undertake such
programmes in the 2014-15 financial year.
At the Otago Corrections Facility in Milburn, CareNZ
facilitates a three-month intensive programme with prisoners
who meet criteria for participation in the prison's
Some prisoners have transferred to the Otago facility
expressly for the purpose of taking part in the programme,
which is not offered in all jails.
In the 2012-13 financial year, 181 Otago prisoners were
inducted into the programme. A further 89 prisoners had been
included this financial year, as at January 31.
Mrs Tolley said the Government had expanded the number of
drug-treatment units throughout the country from six to nine,
and there had been a ''four-fold'' increase in places at the
In addition, since last year all prisons had introduced brief
and intermediate treatment programmes, and the Northland and
Auckland women's prisons had begun intensive support.
It was part of the Government's aim to reduce reoffending by
25% by 2017. Reoffending was already down 11.8%, resulting in
8668 fewer victims of crime each year, Mrs Tolley said.
''The revolution in offender rehabilitation is going from
strength to strength in the key areas of addiction treatment,
education and skills training.''
Support for prisoners tackling drug and alcohol abuse was
''just common sense'', as such addictions were a major driver
of crime, she said.
All prisoners are screened for alcohol and drug problems when
they enter prison, which allows for appropriate decisions on
the amount of support required.
Each prisoner's addictions, health, mental health and
education are considered. More than half of all current
prisoners have drug or alcohol problems.
''If we can give them the opportunity to change their lives
around while inside prison, and access education and
employment skills training, then they will have the tools to
stay away from crime when they are released,'' she said.