As already discussed by Max Chambers on CentreRight, Policy Exchange has published a report that finds that "one in six prisoners at any one time is receiving daily doses of a heroin substitute medicine." That is equivalent to "an estimated 73,000 prisoners over the course of a year whose drug habits are effectively being maintained by the state."
Over the years argues the report – Coming Clean – drug substitution programmes have ceased to be temporary instruments for transitioning prisoners off their habits and have become permanent. One side-effect of the scale of in-prison drug medication has been the creation of a new trade of methadone and similar drugs among prisoners.
The PX report argues that "longer-term prisoners should not merely be ‘encouraged’ to become drug-free during their sentence; it should be expected of them and be a condition of parole."
The situation is complicated by a 2006 court ruling that short-term detoxification could amount to "inhuman or degrading treatment".