Alcohol and Drug use and abuse is a prevalent issue that impacts the NSW prison population. In the State of New South Wales, use and possession of drugs is a criminal offence. Approximately 50% of prisoners attributed their current offences to alcohol or drugs.1
Drug use is a significant contributing factor to women’s imprisonment in Australia. More women than men reported previous or current injecting drug use, with 56% compared to 42% respectively.2 Offenders who complete a drug diversion program are less likely to reoffend.
It is imperative that the NSW Parliament seriously consider reforming the current drug laws. Decriminalisation is a viable option. This would involve the decriminationalisation of the use and possession of small amounts of illicit drugs as per the Portugese model.
 Antonette Gaffney and Jason Payne, ‘How much crime is drug or alcohol related? Self-reported attributions of police detainees’ (Report No. 439, Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2012) 1.
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘The Health of Australia’s Prisoners 2012’ (2013) 78.