Alcoholic Drinks: Sentencing

(asked on 8th February 2024) - View Source

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to help ensure that people convicted of a crime in which alcohol was an aggravating factor are provided with harm reduction (a) support and (b) education as part of their sentence.

Answered by
Edward Argar Portrait
Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
This question was answered on 19th February 2024

The Ministry of Justice is committed to tackling the underlying causes of offending, including alcohol misuse, as it is crucial to reducing reoffending. Between 2011/12 and 2021/22, the overall proven reoffending rate has decreased from 31.3% to 25.2% and we are continuing taking action to drive down the reoffending rate even further.

In the community, we want to make the best use of alternatives to custody to ensure that offenders with substance misuse needs are diverted to treatment wherever appropriate. Offenders can be given an Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR) as part of a community sentence, and we are committed to increasing the use of these. The Department for Health and Social Care are investing £532m to increase drug and alcohol treatment and recovery places and we have recruited new Health and Justice Coordinators in every probation region to improve links between probation and local drug and alcohol treatment services.

We are also piloting three Intensive Supervision Courts where offenders will be subject to regular reviews with a judge, drug testing, incentives and sanctions.

In custody, we have recruited Drug Strategy Leads in key prisons to ensure a focus on tackling drug and alcohol misuse. Staying in treatment on release is crucial and so we are also rolling out more secure video calling technology, providing prisoners with the opportunity to engage with community treatment pre-release. We are also expanding the number of Incentivised Substance-Free Living Units where prisoners commit to remaining free of illicit drugs and alcohol, with regular drug testing and incentives. We now have over 60 of these wings across the estate and are aiming to reach up to 100 by March 2025. This will dramatically expand the number of prisoners who have access to these wings.

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