High levels of addiction in offenders highlighted
More than two-thirds of offenders on probation in Northern Ireland have a problem with drink or drugs, figures have revealed.
Of the individuals currently supervised by the Probation Board NI, 71% have a "small", "medium" or "large" offending-related problem in relation to drink and illicit substances.
Deputy director of the Probation Board Cheryl Lamont said the figures stressed the importance of programmes that address alcohol and drugs issues.
"An analysis of offenders currently supervised by the Probation Board shows that 71% had a 'small', 'medium' or 'large' offending-related problem in relation to alcohol or drugs," she said.
"That is significant numbers.
"The aim of probation is to make local communities safer by challenging and changing offenders' behaviour.
"It does this by supervising court orders and challenging offenders to take responsibility for the offences they have carried out.
"The Probation Board has developed a range of programmes which in a practical way seek to hold offenders to account, prevent further victimisation and create safer communities.
"Given the numbers who present with drug and alcohol issues, many programmes we run deal with those specific areas, and work by providing information about the effects of alcohol upon health, personal relationships and offending to enable participants to make informed choices about their use of alcohol."