' Two-thirds of the probation practitioners that we interviewed for this inspection told us they needed more training on the impact of drugs .'
a crime-free life . Additional training will give practitioners the tools and confidence to do this work effectively .
SUPPORT CONTINUITY One of our biggest concerns was the severe drop-off in drugs treatment as people left prison and returned to the community . Two-thirds of prison leavers in the inspected areas were in treatment in custody but did not continue to receive help on release . This is unacceptable – people need continuity of support at this critical juncture in their lives .
We have made a series of recommendations to improve the quality of work with people on probation who use drugs . This includes a call for a national strategy to provide leadership and improved data-gathering and publication – so we can see what effect probation services are having on this cohort . We have also recommended greater use of drugs testing to ensure people get the support they need and improved continuity of support for prison leavers .
Probation services underwent major reforms at the end of June and probation services are now delivered by a single , publicsector organisation . I hope senior leaders will take the opportunity to review and strengthen work with drug users to ensure it is of a consistently high standard .
FUNDING PRIORITY Finally , none of these improvements will be possible without adequate funding . Probation services received a welcome boost in the last Spending Review but that funding was only for a year and will do little to reverse many years of underinvestment . Dame Carol Black has recently called for additional ring-fenced funding for treatment – which I fully support . People on probation should be a priority group for longer-term investment which would reduce crime , save lives and more than pay for itself in reduced costs to the public purse .
This inspection was led by HM Inspectorate of Probation with support from the Care Quality Commission and Health Inspectorate Wales . Visit the inspectorate ’ s website to read the full report , and follow on Twitter (@ HMIProbation ) for more details of the organisation ’ s work .
I AM A ...
Johnny shares his experience as a homeless recovery coordinator in Lancashire
I have had almost ten years ’ experience in this field . However , following the loss of a role that I loved , I had a cataclysmic relapse . Back in the whirlpool of cocaine and alcohol addiction , I very nearly died .
With the support of my father , I re-engaged with the local drug and alcohol service in February 2020 . I then trained to be a volunteer peer mentor , delivering peer-led education to service users and co-facilitating psychosocial interventions ( PSI ) groups . I recently applied for and have
' The part of my job that fires me up is the contact with people . Sharing my lived experience to show how life can be after addiction can be fantastic .' accepted the role of homeless recovery coordinator with the same service .
Most of my recent work has been on Zoom , during the pandemic . I co-facilitate a ' thrive ' group for six to eight service users , some of whom are just out of rehab / detox . I have done some limited learning in the office , spending time with the medical team and learning from them .
The part of my job that fires me up is the contact with people . Sharing my lived experience to show how life can be after addiction can be fantastic . I enjoy learning from colleagues , working with them in a team which includes my fellow peer mentors . The most rewarding aspect of all of it is being witness to a person ’ s growth and recovery .
The thing I ’ d most like to change would be to give greater accessibility to housing , mental health and medical services . We urgently need more funding in these areas , as there ’ s a crisis that ’ s reaching epidemic proportions .
If you ’ re wondering whether to become a recovery worker , I would say ‘ just do it !’ You ’ ll make such a difference to so many lives .
OUR ‘ I AM A …’ CAREERS SERIES aims to share knowledge and experience of different careers in the sector . You can take part through the ‘ get in touch ’ button on our website : www . drinkanddrugsnews . com / i-am-a /
EnVogue _ Photo / Alamy
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