Criminalization costs

“Criminalization costs” – simple assessment conducted by EHRA members to compare state spending on the criminalization of the drug possession in CEECA countries, versus support of person, who use drugs with social and health care services in freedom. It is a community based research where NGOs, PWUD communities and community experts helped EHRA to collect the data by using publicly available official documents, requests from officials and data from service providers .
The tool is divided into two parts – freedom costs and costs of keeping person in prison. “Prison price” is the simplest way to see cost of drug use and possession criminalization for the society. It doesn’t include costs of the investigation of the case and costs of the court proceedings. As well, it doesn’t include costs, which society is losing because person is losing job and not paying taxes, and costs society needs to pay for the integration of the person into the society after prison. “Prison cost” is calculated multiplying 365 days (1 year) to the cost of one prisoner/per day (or per month) in prison.
“Freedom price” including comprehensive harm reduction package of harm reduction services including needle and syringe exchange programs (NSP) and opioid substitution therapy (OST) adding unemployment benefit used in the country as equivalent of social support. Calculation approach used if following: NSP price/per year/ per client + OST price/ per year/ per client + unemployment benefit (defined in law/ per month*12 month). Please note, that not all people, using drugs, are in need of NSP and/or OST. As well, not all of these people need unemployment benefit because they could have job. Which means, that the “cost in freedom” in practice could be less, than calculated by EHRA. 

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Number of prisoners – 3000. This number doesn’t include persons, who are on probation. Which constitutes 4992 people.

Number of prisoners for drug law offences – 585. No data on the number of persons on probation for drug law offences.

Average sentence for drug law offence – 2 years, 6 months. 1 year, 6 months is applied for illegal possession of psychoactive substances of more than “sufficient for causing drug intoxication to at least ten people”. 3 years, 6 months is applied for a person who has previously committed a theft, robbery, unlawful introduction or export, transfer or handling of a criminal offense or a narcotic or psychotropic substance specified in this section.

OST in prisons – YES. Only in one prison in Estonia person can start OST. In others he/she can just continue treatment.

NSP in prisons – NO. But there was a pilot project in Tartu prison, when prison gave clean syringes to the inmates upon their release.

Number of PWID – 9000. This data is from 2009. New estimation will be done by the end of 2018.

Number of prisoners for drug law offences – ~3000. According to the Ministry of Corrections (the information is dated on Mat 16, 2018), 861 persons are in jail for drug possession or purchase, while only two prisoners are serving for drug consumption/possession of small amount. The same letter says that there are 3,462 convicts on drug possession or purchase and 870 – for drug consumption/possession of small amount. 

Unemployment benefits – non-existent. It doesn’t exist, but there is social assistance for poor people, which is calculated based on their income and property.

Unemployment benefits – 8,77 Eur./per month. This is a maximum sum, which can be issued to the person with more than 10 years working experience.

OST in prisons – YES. Person can get OST in prisons only if he/she was on treatment before his/her imprisonment (continuation of the OST).

ART in prisons – YES. According to the recent EMCDDA report, antiretroviral treatment in case of HIV/AIDS is available for prisoners who have started it prior to imprisonment.

Average sentence for drug law offence – 7 years, 7 months, 23 days. This is a sentence assigned by court. And in practice, people serve approximately 3 years, 11 months and 4 days. The data is provided by the Department of Prisons.

OST in prisons – YES. On 25th April, 2018 Director of the Department of Prisons signed the order on regulations on OST continuation in prison settings. It means, that person can get OST in prisons only if he/she was on treatment before his/her imprisonment. The regulations were created after Lithuania lost the case in court on OST availability in prisons. Court hearings and procedures lasted for 7 years. It is worth mentioning, that regulations were created without any consultations with community of people who use drugs.

Number of PWID – ~8000. According to the official data from 2016, there was 4820 PWID. According to the most recent data, estimated amount of PWID is approx. 8000. (Thanki, D., Mravčík, V., Běláčková, V., Mačiulytė, D., Zábranský, T., Širvinskienė, A., Subata, E., Lorenzo-Ortega, R. (2018). A multi-method estimation of high-risk drug use prevalence and coverage of needle and syringe programs and opioid substitution treatment in Lithuania in 2015-2016 (submitted for publication)).

HIV prevalence in prisons – 3,8%. This number doesn’t include Transnistria region.

Number of prisoners – 7320. This number doesn’t include Transnistria region.

Number of PWID – 36 000. This number doesn’t include Transnistria region.

Unemployment benefits – 70 Eur./ per month (maximum). 30 Eur./ per month – minimum, 50 Eur./ per month – average, 70 Eur./ per month – maximum.

OST price – 750 Eur./ per year (integrated). Simple OST – 502 Eur. / per year. Improved OST – 538 Eur. / per month. Integrated OST – 750 Eur. / per year (In small cities and remote places where there are no narcologists to engage with OST on a daily bases, the OST may be integrated into the existing infrastructure of primary health care Centers). For prisons – 900 Eur./ per year. For prisons improved and integrated – 950 Eur. / per month.

Number of PWID – 262 924. This number is officially registered cases in Narcology. Data is from 2016.

Unemployment benefits – 66 Eur. /per month (maximum). The minimum set in law – 11,5 Eur. / per month.

Spent money per year/ per person – 792 Eur. This sum doesn’t include OST and NSP prices, because there is no official harm reduction services in Russia.

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Number of prisoners for drug law offences – 9000 (convicted). 73% of cases are for personal use.

To be updated