This from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ :
Pre-release prisoners 'may be given re-tox'
By John Steele Crime Correspondent
Prisons are considering "re-toxification" programmes for inmates who are about to be released, to prevent them taking fatal drug overdoses when they reach the outside world, it was claimed yesterday.
The treatment would be based on the same principle as the "methadone maintenance programmes" that run in some jails for remand prisoners and those serving less than eight weeks - which is too short a time for prison detoxification courses to take effect.
Yesterday the Home Office denied any knowledge of "formal" discussions within the prison service about "re-tox" programmes.
However, the Howard League for Penal Reform said that such a move was being "seriously" - if privately - considered as a "panic measure" to stem the number of post-release overdoses.
There is no dispute that there is a real risk of fatal overdose upon release, particularly for heroin addicts.
A period of being "clean" or having relatively limited access to drugs in custody means that former inmates have a lower tolerance for drugs on release.
Some slip back into old habits, which can cost them their lives.
Frances Cook, the director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said that, although no national figures are compiled, coroners often report deaths by drug overdose among newly released prisoners, sometimes on the day of their release.
"The death rate for people who have just come out of prison is very, very high. It has got so bad that we have had discussions with prisons about re-toxifying people before release - because so many are dying," Miss Crook said.
"I know that prisons are thinking about it because people are dying in significant numbers. It [would be] a panic measure, not a long term one. A sign of desperation, rather than something the prisons want to carry out."
The problem lay with follow-up care for released former addicts, she said. "Released prisoners are dumped in the community, with no support, no housing, no job, no money and no prospects. They go back on to drugs and their first fix kills them."
The Home Office said: "There have been no formal discussions about re-toxing prisoners."
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