Kevin Prince

Kevin Prince


Rhonda Parker

Rhonda Parker


    First time drug offenders to be directed into treatment instead of going to court

    18/11/1999 8:40 AM


    First time drug offenders caught by police would be directed into compulsory assessment and treatment instead of going to court under the new WA Strategy Against Drug Abuse Action Plan 1999–2001 announced today.

    Following the announcement of the Together Against Drugs strategy today, the Minister Responsible for WA Drug Abuse Strategy, Rhonda Parker, and the Police Minister Kevin Prince said the tougher approach would result in more people with drug addiction problems being required to undergo treatment.

    Mrs Parker said under the police diversion program, first time offenders who have committed no other offence would be registered for a compulsory assessment. After attending this assessment a treatment program would be developed then undertaken.

    “If the person drops out of the treatment program or re-offends their case will automatically be heard by a court,” she said.

    “The initiative is part of a national police diversion strategy announced by Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney today.”

    Mr Prince said Western Australia’s approach would be implemented in conjunction with more vigorous policing of drug use.

    “I am confident that Western Australia’s tough approach to police diversion will increase the number of first offenders compelled to undergo treatment,” Mr Prince said.

    Mrs Parker said treatment was the intervention most likely to change drug users’ behaviour and prevent them from re-offending, and that each stage of the criminal justice system would provide an opportunity to engage more drug users into treatment.

    These would include:
    • police diversion of first time offenders into compulsory assessment and participation in treatment;
    • expansion of the established Court Diversion Service for repeat offenders; and -
    • a drug court regime for more serious offenders requiring more intensive supervision.

    Mrs Parker said that strong law enforcement would continue to be a vital component of the Coalition Government’s comprehensive and multifaceted strategy against drug abuse.

    MEDIA CONTACT: Owen Cole: 9481 7810, Kirsten Stoney: 9220 5000