Drug and alcohol treatment services continue within the TPS

Source: State of Tasmania Government

2 August 2021

Elise Archer, Minister for Corrections

Labor’s claims today that there are no alcohol and drug services being offered within Tasmania’s prison facilities are completely false and must be called out. As usual, Ella Haddad has her facts wrong.

The Tasmania Prison Service (TPS) is committed to providing evidenced-based drug and alcohol treatment to offenders, including the development and delivery of the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program (ADTP) which has previously operated in the Apsley Unit.

The TPS is working towards a transfer of the ADTP to the Ron Barwick Prison, to facilitate a larger residential therapeutic program, specifically delivered to medium and minimum security rated prisoners. This expanded program will accommodate 34 participants (compared to the previous 10 places).

While this is being finalised, alcohol and other drug support services are in fact being provided to prisoners on a one on one basis, delivered by alcohol and drug counsellors as well as other therapeutic staff.

During the election, I committed to a further $500,000 per year for two years to fund five new therapeutic staff to work within the prison, with a focus primarily on alcohol and other drug interventions.

These staff will assist in coordinating the provision of a range of alcohol and other drug related interventions, counselling, crisis management and other treatment services as required.

We have already commenced the recruitment of these positions.

In addition to these new positions, I also committed an additional $1.5 million of funding towards rehabilitation programs which will be run over the next three years by Red Cross, Connect 42 and Dress for Success Hobart.

The TPS has also commenced a pilot of a new Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) Program specifically to address the treatment needs of female prisoners in the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison. This program is being used to support female prisoners to address their offending behaviour, including their problematic use of alcohol and other drugs.

It is galling that Labor’s Shadow spokesperson shows so little respect for the hard working staff providing these supports and services within our prison system. Ms Haddad should check her facts first rather than play Labor’s continual petty politics.

Unlike Labor, I am committed to continuing the good work within our prison facilities by our hardworking staff, to ensure that these important services are available to prisoners when they need them most, and expanding the services offered.