West Yorkshire CRC pilot online drug and alcohol treatment programme for offenders

West Yorkshire CRC pilot online drug and alcohol treatment programme for offenders image

West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) is piloting a pioneering online treatment programme for offenders and those on probation struggling with alcohol and drug dependency.

Breaking Free is the first ever digital intervention to be accredited by the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advice Panel (CSAAP) at the Ministry of Justice and has been proven to reduce substance misuse and associated re-offending rates.

West Yorkshire CRC is responsible for supervising offenders and ensuring they comply with their sentence and the orders of the court. It manages more than 11,000 offenders at any one time and an average of 900 new cases a month.

Breaking Free is a powerful and adaptable digital health platform which targets the underlying psychological and lifestyle factors that drive addictive behaviours and can be accessed at any time via PC, tablet and a mobile phone app.

Breaking Free is an evidence-based treatment and recovery programme that has been commissioned by more than 60 Local Authorities and NHS Trusts across the UK and has been adopted by several leading national substance misuse treatment charities. It is augmented by Staying Free, a powerful relapse prevention toolkit in a mobile app that is now available on the Android and iOS platforms.

Martin Davies, chief executive at West Yorkshire CRC, said: “Substance misuse is one of the biggest factors contributing to the high rates of reoffending in the UK, with a reconviction rate of 62% for offenders who use drugs in the month prior to imprisonment.

“Breaking this link requires offenders to be given consistent access to evidence-based treatment for substance dependency inside prisons. It is also vital to provide them with genuine continuity of care once they are released back to the community, when they are most at risk of relapse, overdose and reoffending. Breaking Free online will significantly help service users address their addiction issues and significantly reduce re-offending.”

The Breaking Free programme will help people achieve measurable and enduring behavioural change in a diverse range of settings and has already been endorsed by the Ministry of Justice, the Medical Research Council framework for developing and evaluating complex healthcare interventions, NHS England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System.

Breaking Free Online will enable West Yorkshire CRC to:

  • Achieve better outcomes with fewer financial resources by implementing technology innovation
  • Address in the most efficient and cost-effective way the links between substance misuse and offending
  • Implement a consistent intervention approach with exceptionally high treatment across the service
  • Provide evidence-based psychosocial interventions to every offender with substance misuse difficulties
  • Harness the skills and experience of peer mentoring services to assist offenders in using the programme