Media Releases

Bill holds offenders to account on drug and alcohol use

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 17:55

Corrections Minister Judith Collins has welcomed a new law that makes it simpler to hold offenders and bailees to account when they are subject to conditions prohibiting the use of drugs and alcohol.

The Drug and Alcohol Testing of Community-based Offenders, Bailees and Other Persons Legislation Bill passed its third reading today.

The Bill enables the Department of Corrections and the New Zealand Police to require bailees, community-based offenders and other people, who are subject to conditions prohibiting the use of drugs and alcohol, to undergo drug and alcohol testing to ensure they comply with their conditions.

“Drug and alcohol misuse is a major driver of crime,” says Ms Collins. “More than half of crime is committed by people under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and the majority of prisoners experience an alcohol or drug problem over their lifetime.

“Previously, courts have been able to impose conditions that required an offender or bailee to abstain from drug and/or alcohol use, but Corrections and Police have not had clear legislative authority to test them in order to enforce the condition.

“By allowing this testing to occur, the Bill greatly improves our capacity to hold offenders and bailees to account and maintain the integrity of their sentences and orders.”

Drug and alcohol testing complements the suite of changes that Corrections is making around drug and alcohol use and abuse. In the past year more than 14,000 community based offenders received brief interventions to reduce drug and alcohol use.