Users seek access to prison treatment

Drug users who have not offended have been requesting day admission
to prisons because their drug treatment services are better quality
and more readily available than those in the community, a joint
inspection of the government’s street crime initiative has

A significant strand of the SCI was aimed at rapidly diverting
street crime offenders into appropriate assessment and treatment in
order to break the cycle of reoffending.

The Street Crime Action Group decided that, to be effective,
treatment must be accessed within 24 hours of release from custody.

The report says:”While assessment of need was being accessed mostly
within 24 hours, this masked the fact that the second appointment,
when the treatment would begin, was routinely nine to 12 weeks

This resulted in the drop-out rate for attendance at the second
appointment being as high as 97 per cent, the report finds.

By contrast, the reputation of treatment inside prisons was so good
that, as well as requests for day entrance to prisons by
non-offenders, some offenders desperate for treatment considered
committing a street crime simply to gain access.

The inspection by seven inspectorates including social services,
prison, probation and Ofsted said that, despite some missed
opportunities, the SCI was an undoubted success in reducing


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