According to the most recent data, in 2014 around 43 % of prisoners in Malta had a history of drug use prior to imprisonment and one quarter had been in drug treatment.
On entering prison, inmates undergo medical screening, which is followed by a consultation with the psychosocial team. Substance use problems are usually assessed with standardised tools. On admission, all prisoners are also tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections.
Most prisoners undergoing drug treatment in prison receive opioid substitution treatment (OST). OST is initiated at a hospital’s forensic unit and the inmates are transferred back to prison once they are stable. In addition, there are protocols for the transfer of inmates to selected drug rehabilitation units. Drug treatment agencies offer counselling and support services to inmates inside the prison, including assistance with social reintegration. Since 2007, a vaccination programme for HBV has been in place.
Activities are undertaken to prepare inmates for release, but it is not within the remit of the prison to provide continuity of care.