Decriminalisation and possible impact on prison population and drug related problems
Incarceration rates are high among street-populations of illegal substance users, and would arguably be reduced following drug policy liberalisations. Administrative data were obtained from the Correctional Service Register (1.9.2011-31.12.2015), while the illegal opioid and/or stimulants users were interviewed in 2013. Three hypothetical scenarios were explored: A) No incarcerations for possession of any drugs, B) No incarceration for production, distribution, sales and possession, C) Imposing a new legal presumption against sentences <1 week, 1 and 3 months.
The results from applying scenario A) and B) our data will be presented. In scenario C), 6% of the episodes would not occur by suspending sentences <1 week, 35% would not occur if suspending sentences <31 days, while 70% would not occur if suspending sentences <91 days.
Our preliminary findings suggest that a radical change in drug policy is required substantially affect incarcerations in our cohort of illegal substance users.