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Offenders in probation hostels to face compulsory drug testing

Offenders who stay in probation hostels or Approved Premises will now be subject to mandatory drug testing regardless of the offence(s) they committed or their previous drug history.

While probation requirements can include certain drug testing requirements - the MoJ has now said that anyone staying in probation hostels will be randomly tested for 14 different types of drugs twice during their stay.

Meanwhile, those who do already have drug testing requirements will be tested more frequently – up to once a week.

Urine tests will be used – which are more efficient that the current saliva tests according to the MoJ.

Those who test positive will be required to undergo intensive drug treatment or face being recalled to prison.

The three measures form part of a £1.2m initiative to reduce reoffending – they have already been rolled out in dozens of Approved Premises but will now be expanded across the whole estate by Spring 2023.

The changes were first introduced as a Private Members Bill by Rob Butler MP, who recently became Prisons and Probation Minister.

He said: “I’ve seen first-hand how drug addiction is too often at the heart of criminal activity and I have campaigned to change that.

“This mandatory testing will act as a deterrent to anyone tempted to abuse drugs again, help cut crime and make our communities safer.”

Also within the Government’s 10 year Drugs’ Strategy is a £120m investment in three pilot substance misuse ‘problem-solving’ courts to help offenders face their addictions.

Eighteen new drug recovery wings will be established, although prisoners may face consequences including further time in jail if they are not compliant.

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