FIRST UK PRISON ALCOHOL-TREATMENT PROGRAMME IS ACCREDITED
On 28 March 2008, the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel awarded full accreditation status to RAPt’s alcohol dependency treatment programme. This is the first such programme to be accredited in the UK.
There has been a proliferation of rehabilitation programmes in prisons for drug dependent offenders – but a significant lack of treatment opportunities for offenders whose crimes are related to their use of alcohol.
However, towards the end of 2006 the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) commissioned RAPt to develop a programme for alcohol-dependent offenders at HMP Bullingdon. The pilot programme began in January 2007. The results are encouraging and show that the programme can bring about significant changes in offenders who enrol. Preliminary finding show that:
- Most men accessing the programme are in custody for violent offences connected to their alcohol use;
- Most have been dependent on alcohol for over six years;
- The programme can substantially reduce offenders’ risk of re-offending;
- Participants show increased awareness of the impact of their crimes on their victims;
- After treatment, 77% of participants rated their risk of relapse as low or very low; and
- Participants completing the programme continue to access support to help them stay sober and avoid the risk of re-offending on release.
Gail Jones, head of services at RAPt, was involved with the development of the Prison Services Alcohol Strategy and has lobbied for an increase in provision for alcohol-dependent offenders for many years. “We have now been able to show that it is possible to provide good-quality interventions for this group of offenders,” she enthused. “Most of the men accessing the programme have significant histories of violent crimes connected to their alcohol use. The development of an alcohol specific rehabilitation programme is good news for men in prison who have historically been unable to access treatment – it is also good news for their families and victims.
“I hope funding will now be made available to establish more alcohol dependency treatment programmes in prisons in England and Wales.“
RAPt would like to thank the Governor of HMP Bullingdon, Phil Taylor, for his support in piloting the programme.
The Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust is a charity providing treatment for men and women caught up in the criminal-justice system who have drug misuse or addiction problems. Its aim is to rehabilitate offenders from their dependency with the overall purpose of breaking the cycle of substance misuse and crime.
When it started, in 1992, there were no substance-abuse treatment programmes in UK prisons. The RAPt 12 Step programme in HMP Downview was the first of its kind. Now there are 10 12-step abstinence-based drug-treatment programmes in prisons across England, 16 CARAT teams, a residential aftercare project in Hull, a 12-step non-residential treatment programme in Tower Hamlets and an alcohol brief intervention service in Surrey.