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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
Court drug orders 'are working'
Cathy Jamieson
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson welcomed the findings
Court orders offering drug offenders treatment in order to keep them out of prison are proving successful, according to the Scottish Executive.

Researchers found that almost half of those given a Drug Treatment and Testing Order have not reoffended.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said a near 50% success rate represented a significant reduction in crime.

The orders, developed five years ago in Glasgow and Fife, are being rolled out to courts across Scotland.

They are imposed instead of a jail sentence, usually because the offender has a long criminal record.

They combine regular testing, ensuring that the offender remains free from drugs, with treatment including counselling and rehabilitation.

Details of the Stirling University research were released a day before a Scottish Parliament debate at which ministers are likely to pledge extra cash for treatment services to ensure users remain clear of drugs.

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