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opiates, LSD, Ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis. Those who test positive or refuse to take the test are punished by fines, having privileges removed or, most commonly, by having days added to their sentence. Drug rehabilitation programmes are increasingly available within prison.

The Prison Service Drugs Strategy was introduced in 1998 and aims to reduce rates of drug misuse during and after custody. There are a number of elements in the strategy.

All prisons have a Counselling, (CARAT) team which provides a usually employed by external drugs

Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare

general, agencies

low intensity support service.

Staff are

contracted in by the Prison Service.


are a number of intensive prisons as well as support

drugs and alcohol treatment programmes running in selected for detoxification. Additionally, all prisoners are subject to

random, mandatory drug (urine) on a regular basis as part of a

tests. If they wish, prisoners can volunteer to be tested treatment programme or as a condition of living in a

dedicated ‘drug-free’ wing or resettlement unit, where they may also be temporary release to work outside the prison during the day. In a recent study Office 2003b), the following findings were made in relation to the treatment users in women’s prisons:

granted (Home of drug

  • -

    many of the sample group had received a CARAT assessment, but gaps remained

in service delivery

  • -

    detoxification period was not long enough

  • -

    too few drug workers specialising in crack misuse

  • -

    only a minority of women had received any form of therapy in custody

Release on temporary licence (ROTL) Under certain conditions sentenced prisoners can be allowed temporary release from prison typically for a working day or a weekend. Possible reasons include: funerals and hospital visits; maintaining family connections; employment or education; and job or

housing interviews.

The Governor makes the decision, following a thorough risk

assessment. Each licence is issued individually and states the conditions that a prisoner must abide by during their time outside prison. Failure to return to custody within the time set by the licence is a criminal offence. Of the women we interviewed, Muriel had been allowed out to visit her ailing mother for one day a year for ten years prior to her release, and she said that all her later releases on temporary licence had been important in helping her maintain links with outside while serving a long sentence. Home Detention Curfew (with electronic monitoring) Electronic monitoring was introduced on an experimental basis in England and Wales in the 1980s for a number of reasons. It was seen as a way to reduce prison overcrowding and prison costs. It was also seen as a way to strengthen community punishment and to introduce privatization to community punishment as well as to prisons. Finally, it was seen as a sophisticated way to subject offenders to some of the restrictions of prison without inflicting on them the damage of being removed from their home environment. Electronic monitoring requires offenders to be fitted with an special bracelet or anklet which is connected electronically to a telephone which is, in turn, connected to a call centre, from whence regular checks are made on the offender’s whereabouts. Offenders have individualized schedules requiring them to be at home between certain hours. There are now two distinct ways in which electronic monitoring is used to enable offenders to live in the community. First, courts can sentence offenders to curfew orders with electronic monitoring. Second, prisoners may be released several weeks before the end of their sentence, on condition that they are monitored. Both measures have been available nationally since 1999 and are likely to be incorporated increasingly into a


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