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Linkage and continuity of care after release from prison : an evaluation of Central Registration Points for drug users in Belgium

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Purpose This paper aims to report the findings of an evaluation study concerning the Central Registration Points (CRPs) for drug users in Belgian prisons. CRPs support drug users to link with community-based services. Design/methodology/approach The study applied a multi-method approach that involved an exploratory literature review; a secondary analysis of the CRPs' databases; a qualitative study of the perceptions of a diverse sample of stakeholders with regard to the functioning of CRPs; and a prospective registration study. Findings One-third of the clients never attended an outpatient or residential substance abuse service before prison entry. This illustrates that the CRPs managed to reach clients who were not previously reached by (substance abuse) treatment services. All interviewed actors emphasized the added value of the CRPs in terms of informing, contacting, motivating and referring prisoners with a substance abuse problem. Practical implications Based on the research findings, two issues seem to be of paramount importance in the successful practice of CRPs: the confidentiality and specific expertise on (substance abuse) treatment. Given the complex situation of drug users in prison, an independent positioning and categorical assistance with drug-specific expertise seem to be essential. Originality/value CRPs can be considered to be one of the "building blocks" that contribute to high-quality care and continuity of care for drugs users in detention.
ISSN: 1744-9219
Issue: 1
Volume: 17
Pages: 19 - 30