DDN September 2023 DDN September_2023_v2 | Page 18



In the second of our series looking at strong partnerships in commissioning , we focus on the transformative effect they can have in the criminal justice sector

Everyone in the drugs sector knows that the period immediately after release from prison is a crucial one . People who start using again when their tolerance has decreased are at far higher risk of overdose , meaning that effective continuity of care from prison into the community is vital .

Of course , robust partnerships across the treatment and criminal justice sectors can also reduce deaths before people are released , as was highlighted in a 2022 report from the Independent Advisory
Panel on Deaths in Custody in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners Secure Environments Group , Protecting lives , which identified cross-agency working as a central issue in preventing drugrelated deaths .
COMMUNICATION The government is fully aware of the importance of strong partnership working across the drug and criminal justice sectors – its cash boost for the drugs field in the wake of the Black review and subsequent drug strategy included £ 28m for Project ADDER , which aimed to improve lines of communication
between treatment providers , courts and prisons as well as offering housing and employment support and aiming to reduce drug-related reoffending by getting more people into treatment ( DDN , February 2021 , p4 ). There was also extra money for the RECONNECT service , with its focus on continuity of care postprison .
Other ways of improving outcomes across the two sectors include increasing the use of both drug rehabilitation requirements ( DRRs ) and alcohol treatment requirements ( ATRs ), and building on the work of probation health and justice teams . Much like the drug treatment field , however , both the prison estate and probation service have been losing experienced staff – often to burnout . However , there are some strong partnerships in place between treatment and criminal justice agencies that are getting very impressive results in terms of reducing reoffending , diverting people into treatment
and providing support in that crucial period after release .
ARREST REFERRAL Social justice and harm reduction charity Cranstoun is involved in an extensive partnership with criminal justice and other agencies across the West Midlands region , a major element of which is the Cranstoun Arrest Referral Service . Commissioned by the West Midlands PCC , this went live three and a half years ago and covers seven local authority areas .
‘ The services we now have in the West Midlands , like the arrest referral service which is in custody consistently across the whole West Midlands police force area , are a really good example of co-commissioning ,’ says director for new business and services at Cranstoun – and former head of policy at the Office of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner – Megan Jones .
NO ONE GETS MISSED The police estate in the West Midlands is split into a series
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