Women offenders give addiction the boot

Issued: Friday, 29 August 2014
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The NSW Government is helping to break the cycle of crime caused by drug and alcohol abuse, with the life-changing Intensive Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program (IDATP) being expanded to female prisoners for the first time.

Attorney General and Minister for Justice Brad Hazzard and Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin yesterday launched the IDATP Yallul Kaliarna new facility at Dillwynia Correctional Centre near Windsor.

“The NSW Liberals and Nationals recognised there was a desperate need to deal with the root cause of many prisoners’ offending and have tackled drug and alcohol abuse through IDATP – a full-time custody-based therapeutic program offered on a scale never seen before in this country,” Mr Hazzard said.

“We have now delivered our election commitment – this 48-bed facility for female offenders is the final stage of a 298-beds IDATP promise introduced under this Government.

Commissioner Severin said inmates with a documented history of drug and/or alcohol abuse, with at least 12 months to go before their possible release, were eligible for IDATP.

“Participants undertake a range of programs – there is excellent therapeutic treatment and very strong education, vocation and employment programs on site,” he said.

“Both pre-release and post-release support of offenders is essential to the program’s success – we engage with a range of community and government agencies to help people as they return to the community with better accommodation, employment and health support.”

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research will evaluate the program. Experience from Great Britain’s Tough Choices found that for every £1 spent, taxpayers saved £20 through reduced re-offending costs.

Women comprise 7% of inmates in NSW prisons and 77% enter custody with an existing drug or alcohol addiction.

Mr Hazzard said the program used best-practice methods known to work in addiction treatment.

“The women will take a major leap in tackling their drug and alcohol problems and will be better prepared to make good life choices upon their release – including avoiding crime,” Mr Hazzard said.