16 June 2008

Drug free prisons are 'impossible'

There is a chilling sentence in the recent report on drugs in prisons: 'The creation of drug free prisons is an expensive option and was not considered to be practical in the current resource climate'.

Any government which accepts this does not deserve to govern.

Firstly, if the 'current resource climate' is preventing us doing something important which needs doing then let's change the climate! Let's stop wasting money on countless consultations and conferences and quangos and spend the money instead on something which really will make a difference to the lives of some of the most desperate individuals and their families.

Secondly, this statement is flawed even on its own terms. The same report estimates that, over their lifetime, a drug addict costs the taxpayer more than £800,000. So, let's have an 'Invest To Save'. Invest money now in drug treatment and rehabilitation and therapy and joined-up management and save the taxpayer countless millions of pounds in the long-term. Not to mention the radical impact this would have on the lives of the people and communities a government is elected to serve.