Drink and Drugs News December 2016 - Page 5

Read the full stories, and more, online www.drinkanddrugsnews.com GOVERNMENT SEEKS TO ADDRESS PRISONS CRISIS WITH EXTRA STAFF ‘Prisons should be places where offenders get off drugs and get the education and skills they need to find work and turn their back on crime for good.’ eLIzAbeth tRuss JUSTICE SECRETARY ELIZABETH TRUSS HAS ANNOUNCED FUNDING TO RECRUIT 2,500 MORE PRISON OFFICES as part of the government’s new prison safety and reform white paper. There will also be new measures to test offenders on entry and exit from prison ‘to show how well jails are performing’ in getting them off drugs and giving them basic education and employment skills. The white paper also includes measures to introduce no-fly zones over prisons to stop drones being used to drop drugs inside the prison walls, as well as extra sniffer dogs. Prisons should be ‘places where offenders get off drugs and get the education and skills they need to find work and turn their back on crime for good’, said Truss. Deaths in custody rose by 30 per cent in the year to June 2016, while suicides and assaults on staff rose by 28 per cent and 40 cent respectively (DDN, September, page 4). A recent report by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman said that prison authorities must to do more to tackle the role of NPS and associated debts in the rising and ‘unacceptable’ levels of violence in the prison estate (DDN, October, page 4). RAPt CEO Mike Trace – whose organisation recorded a seven-fold increase in reports of NPS use in SKEWED SYSTEM BLACK AND ASIAN MEN are about 1.4 times more likely to receive a custodial sentence for drugs offences than white men, according to the interim report from David Lammy MP’s review of race and the criminal justice system. For every 100 white women handed custodial sentences at crown courts for drugs offences, meanwhile, 227 black women are sentenced to custody. The review, which was commissioned by David Cameron, is due to publish its full report next year. ‘These emerging findings raise difficult questions about whether ethnic minority communities are getting a fair deal in our justice system,’ said Lammy. Black, Asian and minority ethnic disproportionality in the criminal justice system in England and Wales at www.gov.uk www.drinkanddrugsnews.com prisons last year – said that while it was vital to undermine the prison drug market, more also needed to be done to reduce demand. ‘More than half of new arrivals in prison are daily users of drugs, or dependent on alcohol,’ he said. ‘Most seek to continue using inside and, if a way isn’t found to turn them away from the dealer and towards treatment and recovery, their demand fuels the profits of the gangs, which itself is behind most of the violence, disorder, and health emergencies in prison today. We call on the new secretary of state for justice to tackle the issue by prioritising effective drug treatment in the criminal justice system.’ The call for more investment in treatment was echoed by CGL executive director Mike Pattinson, who also stressed the need for better education, training and employment support, as well as provision of safe accommodation on release. ‘Disappointingly there remains a complete absence in thinking and action about some of the other fundamental concerns that impact upon the prison population and therefore the safety of those being detained, namely sentencing reform and a sensible debate about the role of prisons in a modern society and who should be incarcerated,’ he added. White paper at www.gov.uk TalkingDrugs.org EASY DECISION FRANCE HAS OPENED ITS SECOND CONSUMPTION ROOM, less than a month after the country piloted its first project in Paris (DDN, November, page 4). Councillors in the city of Strasbourg voted 90 per cent in favour of the facility, which has a capacity for up to 150 visits a day. A third facility, in Bordeaux, is set to open soon. URGENT UPSCALE THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO SCALE UP NEEDLE AND SYRINGE PROGRAMMES (NSP) and opioid substitution therapy (OST) to keep pace with growing need, according to HRI’s latest Global state of harm reduction report. Out of more than 150 countries where injecting drug use is reported, nearly 70 still do not provide NSP – with no new countries establishing it since 2014 – while just 80 implement OST. ‘The 2011 UN target to halve HIV among people who inject drugs by 2015 was missed by 80 per cent,’ said report author Katie Stone. ‘Now people who inject drugs are being left ever further behind.’ Report at idpc.net DESPERATE MEASURES Are ethnic minority communities are getting a fair deal in our justice system? DAvID LAMMy NEW GUIDELINES for the management of coexisting severe mental illness and substance use – ‘dual diagnosis’ – have been published by NICE. Aimed at commissioners, providers, frontline staff, families, carers and others, they cover issues like referral, care plans and improving service delivery. The guidelines were ‘desperately needed’ said chair of the guideline committee, Professor Alan Maryon Davis. There needs to be ‘much wider recognition that this group of people, despite their complexities, have as much right to dedicated care and support as anyone else,’ he stated. ‘They should not be turned away or left to flounder. Every effort should be made to help them benefit from the services they so badly need. Crucial to this is a non-judgmental, empathetic approach and the building up of mutual respect and trust.’ Available at www.nice.org.uk Guidelines ‘desperately needed’ ALAN MARyoN DAvIs December 2016 | drinkanddrugsnews | 5