Drug rehab course urged for high risk offender

Court House-Sept-2013-05A woman assessed as a high risk of reoffending has been urged by a judge to attend a drug rehabilitation programme in the North Island during a jail term imposed for meth dealing.

The unemployed 27-year-old, Emma Jade Stevens, was caught after a three-month police surveillance operation that recorded 3000 of her texts and phone calls.

The police analysts had little difficulty in understanding the coded drug references in her phone messages, Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders said as he jailed her for three years nine months.

Stevens had pleaded guilty to charges of possession of cannabis for sale, selling cannabis, and dealing in methamphetamine.

Crown prosecutor Marcus Zintl told the court that Stevens, who had been held in custody since her arrest in June, was assessed in her pre-sentence report as being a high risk of reoffending.

She has already served a prison term for previous drug offending, and was doing a term of intensive supervision at the time of her latest offending.

Judge Saunders said cannabis had been found in a bedroom drawer at Stevens’ house when the police carried out their raid, and the text messages indicated the methamphetamine and cannabis dealing.

He told her: “During the course of the sentence I recommend you are considered for a drug dependency programme. There is one that is available through Arohata Women’s Prison (in Wellington).

“We find some people are reluctant to attend because it involves some displacement from Christchurch. In my experience, people who participate in that programme are returned to Christchurch Women’s Prison as soon as they have completed the programme.”

Her participation in the course would be considered when the Parole Board decided on her release from prison. “That is clearly the right intervention for you,” he said. “It is up to you to show some motivation to undertake treatment and demonstrate that you are prepared to reduce the risk of reoffending.”

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