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Community substance abuse treatment pilots to steer offenders from crime

More vulnerable offenders caught up in the UK criminal justice system will have the option to receive treatment services under a new plan focused on increasing the effectiveness of rehabilitation and reducing reoffending rates. This is according to a government announcement on 20 June.

Under appropriate circumstances, the new pilot programmes will allow more offenders to receive community services while they are in prison, including treatment for drug, alcohol, or mental health issues, which are often the main cause of the offending behaviour.

The launch of the first pilot programmes last year resulted in an almost 250% increase in referrals for mental health and substance abuse issues. There was a high compliance rate for those enrolled the first pilots, with only 8% failing to comply with the terms of the referrals. Given the initial success, new pilot programmes will begin in Greater Manchester and London.

The focus on ensuring that people receive the appropriate care, at the appropriate time, and in the appropriate setting is integral to the Health and Justice Plan announced by Justice Secretary, David Gauke, and Health Secretary, Matt Hancock. The announcement came 10 years after the release of the landmark Bradley Report, which laid out a far-reaching plan to lower the rates of reoffending and upgrade public health services for vulnerable offenders. Justice Secretary Gauke said that the provision of addiction and mental health treatment services to extra vulnerable offenders would help reduce reoffending rates, save taxpayer’s money, and make communities safer.

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