Step Out is a service within the Community Offenders Advice and Treatment Service (COATS).
Most clients are released from prison with parole involving conditions which may include drug and alcohol treatment. Some clients are released without these conditions but choose to access treatment voluntarily. These are Step Out clients, and are able to access counselling through the COATS services.
Once a prisoner voluntarily chooses treatment, an assessment is carried out and treatment is arranged.
As a voluntary participant, upon release it is the client’s responsibility to engage with the treatment service. However, in facing release and the ensuing confrontation with many issues, it is often too difficult for clients to also engage in treatment. There is an identified need for treatment agencies to connect with clients pre-release, and to be the reassuring “face” of that service.
It is one of ACSO's goals to promote the service through communication with prison programme staff, and to find ways to support people as they find their way into treatment.