Search­ing for an­swers

DRUGS STILL RIFE IN OUR PRISONS

Canning Times - - NEWS -

THE Au­di­tor Gen­eral has found the De­part­ment of Jus­tice does not have a clear un­der­stand­ing of the ex­tent of drug and al­co­hol use in prisons.

Colin Mur­phy’s re­port, tabled in Par­lia­ment on Novem­ber 7, said the pres­ence of sub­stances presents a chal­lenge to the De­part­ment that con­tin­ues to also man­age stress from over­crowd­ing.

“We found con­sid­er­able im­prove­ment is needed to min­imise the sup­ply and use of sub­stances and to help treat pris­on­ers’ ad­dic­tions,” Mr Mur­phy said. “Ef­forts to ad­dress sup­ply are be­ing un­der­mined by poorly ex­e­cuted searches and limited ac­cess to quick and re­li­able search­ing de­vices.”

The De­part­ment pro­vides pro­grams to ad­dress de­mand for drugs and al­co­hol. But the re­port found places were not avail­able for all pris­on­ers, time­li­ness of treat­ment was an is­sue, and the pro­gram may not meet the cul­tural, ed­u­ca­tional, and gen­der spe­cific needs of all pris­on­ers.

“Treat­ing a pris­oner’s ad­dic­tion is vi­tally im­por­tant, but at the mo­ment many pris­on­ers are not re­ceiv­ing the treat­ment they need to break this cy­cle,” Mr Mur­phy said.

The re­port, Min­imis­ing Drugs and Al­co­hol in Prisons, (Re­port 22 – 2017), is avail­able at www.au­dit.wa.gov.au.

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