Prisoner Drug Rehabilitation

July 6, 2017

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 15:22 :52 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Correctional Services questions regarding drug rehabilitation programs in prisons.

Leave granted.

 

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: The Department for Correctional Services' 2015-16 annual report indicates that the rehabilitation programs branch delivers a substance misuse Therapeutic Community program. The report states that substance misuse Therapeutic Community is a specialised therapeutic service designed to treat substance abuse within a prison setting. However, this program is only being run at the Cadell Training Centre. The Making Changes program addresses general offending behaviour and substance misuse related offending. My questions are:

  1. Can the minister provide details of substance abuse rehabilitation programs that are available to prisoners?

  2. Is the substance misuse Therapeutic Community program the only program dedicated to substance abuse rehabilitation?

  3. Why is the substance misuse Therapeutic Community program only offered at the Cadell Training Centre?

  4. How is participation in the program determined?

  5. If a person with a substance addiction is incarcerated, what is the standard procedure to deal with their addiction?

 

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:24 :25 ): I thank the honourable member for his question, because it is an important one. We do know that if the government is going to be successful in achieving its recently announced target to reduce the rate of reoffending by 10 per cent by the year 2020 then it is necessarily going to have to do more when it comes to addressing those who come into the correctional services system suffering from an addiction. There is a lot of evidence out there that makes it very, very clear that the likelihood of someone reoffending dramatically escalates, of course, if they haven't adequately dealt with an addiction they may have been suffering on coming into the system.

It is also a particularly pertinent question in light of the fact that we do know drugs exist within the prison system. There isn't a prison system anywhere in the world that has been able to be successful in ridding itself of contraband. It is a reality. We have had success in South Australia in reducing the levels of contraband within the system, but it still exists, so this makes it all the more important.

 

Through the Offender Development Directorate the department ensures the delivery of a number of therapeutic programs targeting various offending behaviours. The Hon. Mr Darley has already referred to the Making Changes program. This is a moderate intensity program designed to target general offending behaviour and offending related to substance misuse. In 2015-16, a total of over one and a half thousand hours of the Making Changes program were undertaken, including 778 hours in prisons and 804 hours provided in the community.

 

The department's sex offender rehabilitation programs and violent offender rehabilitation programs also include specific drug and alcohol-related modules. The department also conducts—something the Hon. Mr Darley has already referred to—the substance misuse Therapeutic Community program. The focus of this program is sustaining abstinence from all drugs and alcohol. It focuses on the concepts of recovery, resilience and wellbeing.

 

The department has now had two cohorts graduate from this program and is progressing an evaluation throughout the course of 2017 to ascertain exactly what the success of that program has been. It is important that where a program is delivered, particularly if it is new, we measure its success to ensure we are not continuing with it if it is not doing what it is aimed to do; if it is, that of course provides a mandate to increase the investment in that particular program.

 

It is also important to note that the department does partner with other organisations and agencies in this area to be able to deliver programs. That includes engaging with Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia; OARS, which is Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Services; and the Aboriginal Sobriety Group. In addition, Alcoholics Anonymous and also Narcotics Anonymous have regular meetings set up in prisons across the state. The South Australian prison health service also provides services that are appropriate to a prisoner's ongoing healthcare needs and are in line with the services that would be provided in the community, including support with self-management of drug and alcohol dependence.

 

These are just some of the programs. I could go into more detail regarding programs that are offered by some of those not-for-profit organisations. It is also important to note that, while not in prison, some offenders can be diverted from custody through to the South Australian Drug Court and can be subject to home detention curfew orders with electronic monitoring, in accordance with the Bail Act. In turn, intensive compliance officers support the Drug Court through an after-hours monitoring service, and all Drug Court placements are subject to home curfew conditions.

 

There is a range of different approaches that can be applied to tackle this issue. It is a real one, it is a live one, it is not going away anytime soon and it is something that I care about quite deeply. Apart from the fact that it makes sense to be able to address people's addictions on a human level, at a more pragmatic policy level, if we as a state are going to achieve the reoffending target that this government has outlined and that, I think, has set a new course for corrections policy in the state as of late last year, then this has to happen, and we have to make every effort to get better results when it comes to addressing addiction for people within our correctional services system.

 

But we have to learn. We can't be just throwing endless dollars at programs that make us feel better and relieve ourselves through feeling as though we are doing something, we have to make sure we are learning, and I am very keen to make sure that the department is always measuring the relative success of different programs that we offer. I have made it very clear to the department on more than one occasion—

 

The PRESIDENT: Will the minister address the Chair, not the crowd.

 

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS: I have made it very clear, Mr President—

 

The PRESIDENT: Good, that's much better.

 

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS: —that the department should not be spending money on programs that aren't delivering real results, and that is something we will continue to monitor as we proceed through this exercise.

 

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©2017 BY JOHN DARLEY.