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Professor Azrini Wahidin responds to Ministry of Justice prison improvment proposals

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart has announced that government will invest 10 million to tackle the use of drugs in prison in 10 male prisons. The majority of the investment approximately 6 million has been earmarked for security measures. Are women in prison a ‘correctional afterthought?’


Is this investment in security measures to drive down the use of drugs a poor attempt to ‘punish’ drugs out of prison rather than addressing the real problems of addiction?


The terrible harms that psychoactive drugs can create for both prisoners and prison officers is well known. The Prison Minister, Justice Secretary David Gauke and the Minister of Mental Health and Inequalities, Jackie Doyle-Price all agreed that there is a relationship between drug use and mental health, the rise of violence and repeat offending.


As the Uk punishes addiction, investment in drug treatment and rehabilitation has increased in the Nordic Countries such as Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Does this injection of monies address the crisis the prisons in England and Wales are facing or just further punishes the marginalized ?


50% of prisoners in the UK said that they had no qualifications, 40% needed help with education while in prison, and of these, 21% needed help with basic literacy and numeracy.


A key way to reduce re-offending, to support desistence and help integrate ex-offenders back into society is provide those in prison will skills that will help them address their addiction and the resources to address structural and material inequalities that blight the lives of so many who end up in prisons.


Wahidin, A. (2004), Older Women and The Criminal Justice System: Running Out of Time, London: Jessica Kingsley. ISBN No: 1-84310-170-X.

*Moore, L., Scraton, P. and Wahidin, A. (2018), Women’s Imprisonment, Decarceration and Case for Abolition: Critical Reflections on Corston. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-700260.

*Cowburn, M., Gelsthorpe, L, Wahidin, A and (eds) (2017), Research Ethics in Criminology – Dilemmas, Issues and Solutions, Routledge. Hardback: 978-1-138-80369-5; Paperback: 978-1-138-80370-1;eBook: 978-1-315-75355-3.



From: "Kiggins, Sheila" <>
Date: Friday, 17 August 2018 at 9:56 am
To: "Wahidin, Azrini" <>
Subject: RE: Expert Comment, year-long pilot to tackle drugs in prisons


Thanks! Could you send a brief comment?


Here are a few examples:-


We send this out to broadcasters and also post it to twitter.




From: Wahidin, Azrini
Sent: 17 August 2018 09:53
To: Kiggins, Sheila <>
Cc: Chamberlen, Anastasia <>
Subject: Re: Expert Comment, year-long pilot to tackle drugs in prisons


Hi Sheila,


Happy to comment either by phone or by Skype.


I am available from 12 - 4





Sent from my iPhone

On 17 Aug 2018, at 09:32, Kiggins, Sheila <> wrote:

Dear Ana and Azrini,


Good morning from the press office.


A £10million project has been announced to tackle the use of illegal drugs in prisons. The year-long trial will attempt to reduce the availability of Spice in ten prisons: Hull, Humber, Leeds, Lindholme, Moorland, Wealstun, Nottingham, Ranby, Isis and Wormwood Scrubs – more details here.


Is this something you would be interested in commenting on?


If you are interested and available today please let me know when and how you could speak to journalists (phone/Skype/campus studio) , and also let me have a brief comment which we can use to promote your expertise to the media.





Sheila Kiggins
Media Relations Manager, Social Sciences | Press & Media Relations | University of Warwick
Email: | Tel: +44 (0) 2476 150 423 | Mob: +44 (0) 7876 218166 |

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