Treatment and rehabilitation of drug-dependent offenders

Project completed

The project will provide drug treatment and rehabilitation services for drug-dependent offenders in prison or on parole and thus improve the criminal situation in Estonia. After the project closure the established drug treatment system will be continued and developed further by means of the Estonian budget.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Improving social security
Various social services
15.07.2011 - 31.10.2016
CHF  950’000

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


Statistics of the Estonian police report that in 2008 26 % of all solved crimes and 43 % of solved thefts were committed by persons
who had been punished for drug offence. Approximately one fourth of all prisoners in Estonia, i.e. about 800 persons, are drug dependents. About 40% of all released convicts will commit a new crime within a year after release. Thus, in order to fight crime and to give perspectives to drug-dependent persons, one shall fight drug dependency. The Estonian Ministry of Justice is preparing a semi-compulsory programme for drug-dependent offenders, the aim of which is to provide sentenced offenders a chance to get treatment and in that way reduce their recidivism risk. This project will provide treatment opportunities for all convicted drug dependent and will start introducing drug  treatment as alternative to imprisonment.


The principal goal of the project is to provide drug
rehabilitation for drug-dependent offenders and thus to reduce the number of crimes related to drug-dependency: Drug-dependent offenders shall get the possibility to face their dependency, to break away from the use of drugs and to rearrange their life
situation in an autonomous way. Therefore, the project will prepare an integrated system of treatment, rehabilitation and social re-integration for drug dependent offenders who are in prison or on parole.

Target groups

Drug – dependent offenders, who are released on parole or whose imprisonment has been replaced by treatment programme


During the preparation phase specifications for treatment and rehabilitation quality standards will be prepared, drug treatment and rehabilitation services procured and selected service providers trained. During the implementation phase, drug treatment and rehabilitation to target groups will be offered, service quality supervised and study visits and trainings carried out. In the completion phase, a summary on best practises will be drafted to be used for amending the National Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Guidelines; furthermore the continuation and further development of the established treatment system will be planned.


Achieved results:  

  • Rehabilitation programme "Strength to Change" has been established
  • 30 prison officials and 90 probation officers were trained on how to work with the rehabilitation programme "Strength to Change"
  • 50 inmates were trained on how to deal with take-home naloxone kits
  • Due to trained probation service staff more drug addicted offenders end up in rehabilitation instead of prisons

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • National State Institute North

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    950’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    882’551
Project phases

Phase 1 15.07.2011 - 31.10.2016   (Completed)