Prison won’t stem booze crime, claims report

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A DURHAM University professor’s lastest research shows prisons are unable to stem booze-fuelled crime.

Almost all UK prisons are ineffective in dealing with alcohol-related criminal behaviour, according to a commission headed up by the university prison expert.

The survey carried out by the Alcohol and Crime Commission found that while many prisoners will be abstinent during their sentence, there is little support to help them understand what part alcohol played in their offending.

Commissioned by leading addiction charity, Addaction, the report also showed 70 per cent of prisoners surveyed admitted they had been drinking when they committed the offence for which they were incarcerated, yet only half of those prisoners recognised their drinking as a problem.

Durham University’s Professor John Podmore headed up the Commission. He said: “What we have is a booze-fuelled revolving door and a system that doesn’t understand the complexities of alcohol-related crime.”

A lack of support on release means that many prisoners return to a life of crime, with alcohol again playing a key part.

The commission has made a number of recommendations, including alcohol-treatment services for prisoners should form a key part of any rehabilitation and that all frontline staff in prisons receive expert alcohol awareness training.

and support services specifically designed for women prisoners should be developed as a matter of urgency.