Nationwide, Māori Get together slam drop in alcohol, drug programmes for prisoners

Christchurch men

2021-06-24 13:33:41

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has defended an enormous drop within the variety of prisoners getting remedy for alcohol and drug issues.

Christchurch men's prison fence and security

About half of all crime is dedicated by individuals beneath the affect of medication and alcohol.
Picture: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Since Corrections minimize its temporary and intermediate alcohol and drug remedy programmes in 2018, the variety of inmates getting remedy has fallen from 4300 in 2017 to simply 928 prisoners.

Showing earlier than the Justice Choose Committee in the present day, Davis mentioned funding was being made in additional intensive programmes.

“It is very simple for Corrections simply to place each prisoner on a really quick course and say that our numbers collaborating in programs have gone up when the effectiveness can be questionable so we’re ensuring that the programmes which are there are the best.”

The minister mentioned that they had carried out away with programmes that had been short-term and never of excessive worth.

Corrections employees talking alongside the minister on the choose committee mentioned they had been strengthening staffing and sources in drug remedy models, with extra prisoners going by means of these.

Nonetheless, figures confirmed that throughout all Corrections AOD drug and alcohol programmes – together with intensive remedy – there had been a discount in prisoners going by means of these.

The AOD Intensive Remedy Programme had fallen from 283 in 2017 to 184 this yr.

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Programmes which are the best to assist prisoners with substance abuse issues are being expanded, Kelvin Davis says.
Picture: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Nationwide Get together MP Simeon Brown mentioned it confirmed “the minister’s phrases [were] utterly empty”.

“The fact is we have seen a 75 p.c drop in individuals receiving drug and alcohol rehabilitation providers in our prisons – that is one thing which wants to vary.

“People who find themselves needing that assist must be getting in while in jail; in any other case, we will proceed seeing elevated aggression inside our prisons and people individuals not getting that assist earlier than they go away,” Brown mentioned.

Davis mentioned there had been a discount within the jail inhabitants of virtually 20 p.c, which was why the numbers had been taking place, however Brown mentioned the 75 p.c drop in remedy programme participation was nowhere close to consistent with the drop in prisoners.

Māori ‘undergo probably the most’

South Auckland lawyer Kingi Snelgar was not shopping for the minister’s rationalization both.

“It is arduous to know why there’s been a drop and the justification definitely would not appear proper to me.

“The those who undergo probably the most by means of this drop are Māori as a result of we undergo from mass incarceration, we’re overrepresented in prisons and that has an intergenerational affect, so they have to do higher,” Snelgar mentioned.

It was too troublesome for prisoners to realize entry to the programmes they wanted, he mentioned.

“Then which means there is a barrier for them in getting parole early as a result of they merely cannot entry the programme that they should earlier than getting parole.

“It is fairly ridiculous if you assume the chief scientific advisor to the prime minister, Sir Peter Gluckman, mentioned 90 p.c of individuals in jail undergo from a psychological sickness or a drug and alcohol dependancy.”

Māori Get together co-leader Rawiri Waititi was additionally involved Māori prisoners had been being left worse off.

“The quantity of our whānau that get arrested and imprisoned for what appears to be a well being downside and never a judicial downside can also be a priority if these programmes usually are not working.”

In Finances 2019, $128 million was invested over 4 years for increasing drug, alcohol and psychological well being providers in prisons.

Corrections mentioned a few of it had been used to extend staffing and sources for intensive alcohol and drug programmes, with a lot of the give attention to group interventions to cease individuals going into prisons within the first place.

A 100-bed devoted psychological well being and dependancy service can also be being constructed at Waikeria Jail.

The minister mentioned he wouldn’t put a goal in place for what number of prisoners must be accessing drug and alcohol remedy.

About half of all crime is dedicated by individuals beneath the affect of medication and alcohol, and 87 p.c of all prisoners have skilled an issue with medicine and alcohol of their lifetime.

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