Northumbria Probation Area
Drugs and Alcohol
Drug and Alcohol requirements are identified as two of the seven
pathways out of offending.
Offenders often commit acquisitive crimes, such as theft and
burglary to fund their drug habits. This can lead to homelessness
and other social problems. We work with offenders to help them
achieve a drug free lifestyle, which can reduce the likelihood of
Drug Rehabilitation or DRR is a requirement for offenders with
serious drug abuse problems and offending behaviour linked to
these problems. It is part of the community order and must be
accompanied by supervision to provide the necessary support.
We work with specialist partner agencies focussing on offenders’
substance misuse and related lifestyles. They must work towards
achieving a drug free lifestyle during their order and provide
regular samples to prove this.
The requirement includes a long term rehabilitation programme of
treatment and support to help offenders break away from drug
addiction and offending. This can be carried on long after their
sentence has finished.
We also give offenders the opportunity to engage in a full
programme of activities such as attending the Addressing Substance
Related Offending programme where offenders look at their
addictive behaviour and how it links to crime. They also attend
basic skills training and receive support in developing their
education, training and employment prospects. This can help them
access the pathways out of crime for example, by finding
employment or a suitable place to live.
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In the UK, alcohol misuse contributes significantly to criminal
and anti social behaviour and in the North East region, alcohol
consumption is high but provision of treatment services is
comparatively low. Research carried out by Newcastle University
indicated that 30 - 35% of the offenders we supervise in
Northumbria could be harmful or dependent drinkers. Work is being
done to address this with the North East Regional Alcohol Advisory
Regional Alcohol Advisory Group
The alcohol treatment requirement is part of the community order
or suspended sentence order. It focuses on offenders who have a
serious alcohol dependency or whose alcohol misuse is a
contributing factor in their offending, particularly where the
offence involves violence. The requirement is not appropriate for
offenders who only require general alcohol awareness counselling
or if they are convicted of a less serious offence. The aim is to
reduce or eliminate the offender’s dependency on alcohol.
Alcohol is also an issue for many offenders we see during
supervision. We work with NECA (North East Council on Addictions)
to combat alcohol misuse. During an offender’s supervision
session, probation officers and specialist NECA staff work with
offenders to determine their alcohol misuse and the impact it has
on their lifestyle and offending behaviour. We also provide a
short series of brief intervention sessions designed to raise
awareness and help individuals change their patterns of alcohol
use. Additionally, we incorporate an educational part to the
sessions, including facts about alcohol use and the affects it has
on the offender’s health.
Council on Addictions
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