Half of Suffolk drugs orders breached

ALMOST half of all drugs orders handed out by courts in Suffolk during the last five years were breached, figures revealed today.

ALMOST half of all drugs orders handed out by courts in Suffolk during the last five years were breached, figures revealed today.

A total of 428 Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) and Drug Rehabilitation Requirements (DRRs) were issued in the county between January 2004 and May 2008.

Of those, 212 were not completed - a figure which equates to roughly 49.5 per cent.

Today, Suffolk Probation defended the success of the orders, claiming they were tough sentences which were “rigorously enforced”.

Suffolk Probation Area chief officer John Budd said: “Offenders who are given these types of orders have chaotic lifestyles caused by prolific drug habits. They are expected to quickly conform to a more regular way of life.

“Many offenders who are breached go on to complete the order and turn their lives around by giving up drugs and crime and getting a job.

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“This is a tough sentence and, like all community sentences in Suffolk, is rigorously enforced by Suffolk Probation Area.

“Some of our offenders on DRRs have said it was easier in prison.”

The figures have come to light following a Freedom of Information Request submitted by The Evening Star.

Suffolk Probation said the most common reason for a breach was “unacceptable absence”.

Research shows that those completing orders have significantly lower reconviction rates - 53pc - than those that do not - 91pc.

In Suffolk, 86 per cent of offenders stick to the orders for at least 12 weeks, which is the minimum treatment period reported by the National Treatment Agency (NTA) as having an impact on drug use and offending.

According to the NTA, every £1 spent on treatment for drug users saves the tax payer £9.50 due to the reduction in drug-related crime.

In addition, if one person is prevented from getting a blood-borne virus, such as hepatitis or HIV, the NHS is saved £200,000.

Do you think drug treatment and testing orders are good value for money? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

What is a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement Order?

A Drug Rehabilitation Requirement order (DRR) is a requirement made by the courts as part of a community order. It can last from six to 36 months, but is typically 12 months in Suffolk.

It involves attending a drug treatment programme daily for a minimum of 16 weeks. In addition, offenders must attend interviews with their probation officer once a week.

They are drug tested twice a week and return to court every month for a review so that the judge or magistrate can check the progress of the order.

Orders issued Orders breached

2004 88 53

2005 84 39

2006 106 65

2007 108 50

2008 (up to May) 42 5

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