The report, Prison population growth: drivers, implications and policy considerations, looks at the impact increasing the prison population will have in areas such as the safe operation of facilities, health, wellbeing and rehabilitation.
Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Professor of Social Justice and Public Policy in the University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, is acknowledged as a key contributor to the report published by POST, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.
The report is intended as an impartial briefing to policy-makers and politicians within the UK parliament.
POST works to ensure that the best available research evidence and information is brought to bear on the legislative process and scrutiny of government.
As a leading expert in alcohol and public health, Professor Newbury-Birch was asked to give an insight into how increasing the prison population would impact substance misuse within facilities.
Substance misuse is a major issue within prisons, with up to 15% of prisoners failing random drug tests.
Professor Newbury Birch estimates that alcohol dependency within prisons could be as much as 40% of the population, with excessive levels of drinking as high as 70% of the population.
We are delighted to have been able to contribute to this important report and are very grateful that the authors took the time to listen to our findings.
She advised POST that many prisoners who need treatment for substance misuse do not access it, as often the system relies upon prisoners self-reporting their dependency.
Professor Newbury-Birch, who leads Team ALPHA (Alcohol and Public Health) at Teesside University, said: “We are delighted to have been able to contribute to this important report and are very grateful that the authors took the time to listen to our findings.
“Substance misuse within the criminal justice system is such an important issue, and tackling it with the appropriate interventions is key to the successful rehabilitation of offenders.
“Historically, this has been an overlooked area of research, partly because of the difficulty of implementing randomised control trials within a prison environment, and we would urge politicians to address this.
“Nevertheless, my colleagues and I are committed to finding new ways to successfully tackle this problem and finding a better system that delivers for both offenders and their victims.”
Teesside University expertise supports prison report
Cision News, Web, 09/02/2024 A Teesside University academic has made a major contribution to an important government report investigating how future policy might impact the United Kingdom prison service.