Tackling alcohol and drug abuse

The greatest contribution the Department of Corrections can make to New Zealanders is to reduce re-offending. Breaking the cycle of crime results in fewer victims and safer communities. The Government is committed to achieving a 25% reduction in re-offending by 2017. This will mean 4,600 fewer offenders returning and 18,500 fewer victims.

To achieve this, we will work with our partners in the community and across the justice, public, and private sectors to move people away from a life of crime. Through a combination of interventions such as increased alcohol and drug treatment, greater access to education, skills training, employment programmes, expanded re-integration services, and innovative rehabilitation programmes, we can make a difference to people’s lives.

Our plan to reduce re-offending involves developing new and innovative approaches, while expanding and strengthening existing services with proven results. This plan will evolve during the next few years to ensure that we are responsive to offenders’ changing needs.

Alcohol and drug treatment for 33,100 additional offenders.

Drug and alcohol abuse is a major driver of crime. Two-thirds of New Zealand prisoners have substance abuse problems and more than 50% of crime is committed by people under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
By tackling this issue, we can contribute to people leading an offence-free life once they leave prison or complete their community sentence.

We currently provide drug and alcohol treatment in prisons through six-month and three-month intensive programmes. We’ve increased the number of three-month programmes and put in place a range of shorter interventions for offenders who have less chronic problems but lack education about the impacts of drugs and alcohol.

There will also be earlier identification and referral to alcohol and drug services for offenders in the community.

Expanding drug and alcohol initiatives will mean, by 2017:

  • 4,000 more prisoners a year in expanded alcohol and drug programmes
  • 1,200 prisoners a year receiving brief alcohol and drug interventions from health staff
  • 5,800 more community offenders a year receiving externally provided alcohol and drug programmes
  • 22,000 community offenders a year receiving brief alcohol and drug interventions from Probation Officers
  • 100 community offenders a year referred for treatment by the pilot drug court in Auckland.