Treatment in an Unfavourable Setting: Specialized Departments for Drug Users in Czech Prisons
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The Institute of Criminology and Social Prevention in Prague is currently carrying out research focused on therapeutic treatment programs implemented in specialised departments for drug users in Czech prisons. Description of the specialised departments’ operation and particular implemented treatment programs forms an important part of the research. For this purpose, an analysis of official documents and statistical data from the Czech Prison Service was performed, and semi-structured interviews with staff working in specialised departments for drug users were conducted. The paper summarizes findings from this part of the research and offers an insight into the functioning of this key component of drug policy in the Czech prison system. Voluntary prison-based drug treatment is available in eight prisons in the Czech Republic. The overall capacity is almost 300 persons. Specialised departments for court-ordered treatment operate in three prisons; the capacity is approximately 130 persons. Interviews with 22 workers were conducted between November 2016 and January 2017. Special programs for drug users in prisons are perceived as a potentially promising tool in the prevention of recidivism. Programs are well established; however, there are some differences stemming from the form of treatment (voluntary/compulsory). Staff capacity, lack of out-of-prison activities, lack of program standardization, and lack of systematic evaluation are perceived as the main areas for improvement.
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