Prison to Rehab Protocol

The Prison to Rehab Protocol sets out the process for prison based staff, residential rehabilitation providers and individuals on accessing the Prison to Rehab Pathway. The pathway supports individuals leaving prison who would benefit from accessing abstinence based treatment on release.

1. Detailed Process

The forms required to complete a referral are available on the National drugs mission website or by contacting

1.1 Step 1: Identification

SPS/ Prison Health Care staff and Community Services: Staff identify people who are due for release and may benefit from an abstinence based residential rehabilitation programme to support their recovery from problematic alcohol or drug use.

It is important to note that residential rehabilitation providers will need to have adequate time to carry out their assessment of need and that this can take from 2 to 4 weeks.

1.2 Step 2: Accessing the right programme

Annex A sets out relevant information about the range of residential rehabilitation programmes provided by organisations participating in this pathway. It is important that the person is actively involved in identifying the programme which best meets their needs.

Prison-based staff: staff to engage with the individual on key factors which determine suitability of rehab in general and may influence the choice of appropriate provider:

  • Motivation for abstinence based recovery.
  • The Local Authority the individual is from and/or wishes to return to upon the completion of the residential rehabilitation placement. Where possible, providers local to the individual should be considered due to the benefits of well-connected aftercare pathways.
  • The commitment required to complete a 12 week (or longer) treatment programme on release.
  • Any previous experience in residential rehabilitation which may not have been at a suitable provider or of suitable length for the individual's needs.

The providers listed offer different programmes and may be able to offer different lengths of stay, however, the minimum stay is 12 weeks. If further information is required for the individual to make a decision on the preferred provider, contact details for each service are available in Annex A. The provider will be able to advise on the length of programme they offer through P2R and the aftercare support available.

1.3 Step 3: Referral

Prison-based staff: Once the most appropriate residential rehabilitation programme has been identified, staff should make contact with the provider to discuss availability. To make a referral to the chosen service, staff should complete the P2R Referral Form and submit this to the residential rehabilitation provider.

SPS / Prison Health Care Service will need to provide background information, such as;

  • Drug & alcohol history
  • Physical health and mental health
  • Offending history

Rehab provider: provider to advise if their service is initially deemed suitable for the individual and will provide information about the assessment process. Assessment will take place either over the phone or online.

SPS / Prison Health Care: to notify key stakeholders to ensure ongoing support before and after placement and ensure the rehab provider is linked in to key stakeholders, including;

  • Local Alcohol and Drug Treatment Service and Throughcare Service. Local treatment teams should be approached to be involved in the assessment process for the placement and can provide input on the suitability of available providers to the individual's needs.
  • Social Work Team (care manager) as appropriate
  • Community Justice Social Work Team
  • Health Professionals (prescribing, medication & health issues and any 3rd sector support service

It is vital to inform all relevant stakeholders as part of the referral process, these services will need to be aware of the placement in order to prepare for the person coming back to the local area once placement is finished.

1.4 Step 4: Assessment

Rehab provider: In order to ensure that they can meet the needs of the person wishing to access the service, the provider will carry out an assessment. Please note that assessment may take more than one session.

The provider will notify the individual and SPS / Prison Health Care Services of the decision, once the assessment process has been completed.

Once a provider is confirmed, a throughcare plan should be agreed between appropriate prison based staff and the provider. The plan should include:

  • Consideration of the individual's housing arrangement post-rehab.
  • The aftercare that will be available from the residential rehab.
  • A referral to community services, to ensure continuity of care post-rehab.
  • Support in case of early discharge.

If the person is unable to access residential rehabilitation: please ensure that appropriate throughcare support is in place on release, including access to Take Home Naloxone.

1.5 Step 5: Confirmation and notification

Rehab provider: the provider to confirm to Scottish Government that placement has been offered by completing the P2R Notification Form as early as possible. Date of admission should be based on the release date.

The form should be emailed to

  • This is to begin the process of accessing the funding for the placement.
  • Please note that the finance cannot be released until the placement has been confirmed.

SPS and rehab provider: to agree transport arrangements for individual ahead of release. A transfer plan should be set and agreed by the provider and SPS and should include any prescription details, obtained from prison healthcare staff.

Additional funding can be provided by Scottish Government in cases where there are difficulties arranging suitable transportation or where the provider does not have existing capacity to pick up individual's on release. Rehab provider to discuss this with where required.

At this stage, SPS and the provider should also consider the following:

  • Application to DWP for benefits may be required at this stage (some rehabilitation programmes require this to be in place prior to admission).
  • GP registration should be checked. A transfer to new practice/ GP may be required.
  • Confirmation should be sent to all relevant stakeholders (social work, mental health teams etc.)

1.6 Step 6: Transfer

Person leaving prison should be transferred directly to residential service as per agreed transfer plan.

1.7 Accessing Funding

Residential rehabilitation providers are eligible for funding for a treatment programme up to the cost of £20,000 per individual, per placement. The below conditions must be met to access funding.

  • Each step of the process set out above has been considered and followed.
  • The relevant Alcohol and Drugs Partnership has been notified of the placement and engaged as part of the assessment and admission process.
  • For cases where the required placement (minimum 12 weeks) exceeds the cost limit, a partnership approach has been sought and agreed with the relevant Alcohol and Drug Partnership to fund the placement in conjunction with P2R.
  • A placement has been confirmed by the residential rehab and accepted by the individual, with further confirmation from the residential rehab provider that the individual was admitted and treatment has commenced.

Step 1: Identifcation

  • Prison based staff to identify people based on needs and motivation
  • Consider release date, referral & assessment timescales

Step 2: Choice

  • Discussion about rehabiltation
  • Idenitfy suitable service
  • Agreement required from person & SPS

Step 3: Referral

  • SPS/ Prison Health Care provide relevant information
  • Inform any external stakeholders of referral
  • Complete referral form & send to relevant rehab
  • Residential service will confirm assessment details

Step 4: Notification

  • Notification to Scottish Government to start the process of acecssing funding.

Step 5: Assessment

  • Residential service will carry out assessment
  • Assessment may take more than one session
  • If suitable, the person will be offered a place for the date of liberation

Step 6: Confirmation

  • Rehab service to confirm placement with SPS and Scottish Government
  • Date of admission & transfer details to be agreed
  • GP registration and prescrciption details checked
  • Confirmation sent to all relevant stakeholders

Step 7: Transfer

  • Direct transfer to residential service



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