17th July 2017
IPRT welcomes the strategy, launched on 17th July 2017, particularly in that it is a harm-reduction approach, based on person-centred responses and aimed at promoting rehabilitation and recovery. It sets out key actions to be delivered between 2017 and 2020, and provides an opportunity for the development of further actions from 2021 to 2024, which will be health-led and evidence-based.
Proposals to examine decriminalisation are particularly welcome, including recommendations that consideration be given to extending the scope of the Adult Caution Scheme to include drug possession offences, specifically first-time offences involving possession of a controlled substance for personal use (‘simple possession’).
Also welcome, is the view of The Steering Committee that the operation of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016 should be reviewed after a period of operation to ensure that a return to rehabilitation and a normal life for those who have committed offences during a period of drug use are not unduly hampered by the system of recording of convictions.