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Addicts to receive treatment orders over prison

2 July 2010

A new sentencing scheme, intended to provide earlier and more effective intervention for drug addicts turning to crime to fund their habits, is to be implemented across Scotland.

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) have previously been used in pilot schemes throughout the Lothians, to deal with only heavily addicted offenders. However, the new nationwide rollout will see the scheme extended to those much less entrenched in the cycle of drug use and crime.

Once issued with an order, offenders must stay off drugs and attend regular monitoring sessions, or face a return to prison. The plans have met with broad cross-party support, at a time when Scotland is seeking to find alternatives to custodial sentences and tackle the social challenges which often underlie persistent reoffending.

Of the 59 orders issued during the pilot, the majority of which were in Edinburgh, only eight were successfully completed within the evaluation period. However, as orders typically run for between six and 12 months, only three of the participants could potentially have completed in time but failed to do so. A total of 10 orders were either breached, revoked or were breached and then revoked.

Despite a relatively small sample in the pilot schemes, the evaluation process concluded DTTOs have the potential to make a significant dent in the nation’s drug-related crime figures, but that assessment of the scheme should be ongoing. The scheme will cost £1,847,000 per year to run, plus start-up costs of approximately £447,000 in the first year.

The full report on the pilot can be downloaded here.