Drug Treatment units

Drug Treatment Units, or DTU’s, help individuals with drug problems while they are in prison.


The DTU programme length varies with different prisons, however the principles of each are all the same. They focus, like any other treatment service, on recovery from drug addiction.

The DTU programme is very similar to other residential treatment services. These programmes focus on remaining abstinent and examining drug use, and the associated behaviours. There is also a strong focus on reducing recidivism and using relapse prevention techniques to aid societal reintegration.

Generally, there are fairly strict entry criteria for DTU programmes and each inmate must demonstrate genuine motivation to change, and maintain this motivation throughout the programme duration.

These programmes are typically three to six months long, and the prisoner’s sentence length will dictate the length of the programme they undergo. The programme will look at the reasons for substance use, subsequent behaviours, relapse prevention, emotional regulation and on-going support.

Some prisons also have support groups that come into the prison to aid in the recovery of prisoners. Although these groups are autonomous, they are an extremely beneficial aspect of recovery in prison. They are quite often strongly recommended as part of the prisoners relapse prevention plan and on-going support network post-sentence.

Drug treatment unitsThe most recent research from corrections shows that for a prisoner coming through a drug treatment unit, there's a 30% reduction in re-offending.

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