A scheme that sees offenders get treatment for addictions and mental health issues as part of their sentences is helping to stop the “revolving door” of crime, the Staffordshire Commissioner has said.

The new type of sentencing has been pioneered across Staffordshire over the past 18 months in a Government-backed pilot.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis

Commissioner Matthew Ellis said the Community Sentence Treatment Requirements (CSTR) scheme had already achieved significant increases in the numbers diverted from short-term custodial sentences and into treatment programmes in the community.

The Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health and Social Care have now committed to further local funding for treatment services to help tackle drug and alcohol-related crime, which will support the delivery of the CSTR programme.

“It’s great to see strong Government backing for this approach, which we have now been piloting in Staffordshire for over a year.

“I’m convinced that tackling the root causes of repeat offending is the way forward and will ultimately save not only public money, but also the very high human cost to victims and their families and society in general.

“This is about halting the vicious cycle, where offenders start out committing less serious crimes, but often rapidly progress to much more serious ones, which are fuelled by their addictions and coming into contact with hardened criminals as they go in and out of prison.

“Being locked away only pauses the chaos and the damage an individual’s behaviour has on law-abiding people, but it rarely fixes the addiction which causes their behaviour. 

“It’s a revolving door that costs all of us vast amounts of money.”

Staffordshire Commissioner Matthew Ellis

The CTSR pilot is due to end this autumn and will be evaluated by the University of Northampton. If it proves to be successful it will be rolled out nationally.

“The evidence shows that for most people, not all, when they get off their foul addiction, they can get their lives back on track and stop being a drain on society.”

Staffordshire Commissioner Matthew Ellis