CareNZ services in prisons

Therapeutic communities – Drug Treatment Units

CareNZ has worked alongside the Department of Corrections in facilitating Drug Treatment Units (DTUs) across New Zealand since 1997, when the first DTU in Arohata Women’s Prison was opened.

Alcohol or other drug use and offending are often connected. More than 50% of crime is committed by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and two thirds of New Zealand prisoners have substance abuse issues.

We are currently operating eight prison-based Drug Treatment Units across the country: Spring Hill Corrections Facility, Waikeria Prison, Whanganui Prison, Hawkes Bay Regional Prison, Rimutaka Prison, Arohata Prison, Christchurch Men’s Prison and Otago Corrections Facility.

Drug treatment units (DTUs) are separate units, away from the mainstream prison. Operating as a therapeutic community, the DTUs provide a safe and supportive environment within the prison, in which prisoners can address underlying issues with alcohol or other drugs and develop skills for successful change. The programme is supported by the use of mentors, who themselves are graduates of the DTU programme.

Through structured group work, social skills training and therapy groups the programme addresses factors that influence participants’ alcohol and drug use and therefore contributes to reducing offending behaviour.