Auckland alcohol and drug court pilot extended another three years

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court pilot programme runs at the Auckland District Court, pictured, and the ...
BEVAN READ/FAIRFAX NZ

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court pilot programme runs at the Auckland District Court, pictured, and the Waitakere District Court.

A pilot programme that helps offenders with drug and alcohol problems has been extended for three more years.

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court pilot will continue to help offenders before the Waitakere and Auckland District Courts, Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams announced on Tuesday.

The pilot, which began in November 2012, aims to help reduce alcohol and drug use, reoffending and imprisonment. 

Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams announced the extension on Tuesday.
CAMERON BUrNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams announced the extension on Tuesday.

It identifies offenders whose alcohol and other drug dependency is behind a pattern of serious offending and diverts them from prison into treatment, under the close supervision of the court.

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Adams said preliminary analysis suggested the pilot reduced the likelihood of reoffending in the short term by about 15 per cent, compared with offenders who go through the standard court process.

The harm associated with alcohol and other drug abuse remains one of the major drivers of crime and social harm in New Zealand, she said.

"One of the early graduates from the Court was a man who had been dependent on drugs for over 20 years. He has since been clean for over three years and is now working at a drug rehabilitation organisation to help others get off drugs and into a life free of crime," Adams said.

"However, given the length of time participants spend in the Court, the small sample size to date, and the need to determine whether reductions in reoffending are sustainable once graduates leave the Court, it is necessary to extend the pilot for a further three years.

"This will enable us to determine whether the Court is the best way to achieve a long-lasting reduction in the harm associated with alcohol and drug abuse before we look at permanently establishing the model."

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