Prison Drug Policy Symposium – London 5th May

by George McBride

Volteface is proud to announce our latest event: High Stakes: Prison Drug Policy Symposium at the Barbican.

This is the first of a series of events in our collaboration with Rob Ralphs and Rebecca Askew of the Substance Use and Addictive Behaviours Group following their Fellowship Grant from Metropolis. The event is also in collaboration with the brilliant service user involvement charity, User Voice.

Rising rates of drug use, suicides, violence and self-harm have gained increasing media attention over the last year. Growing problems associated with the sale and use of novel psychoactive substances have been highlighted by the HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Prisons & Probation Ombudsman and the Ministry of Justice as a major challenge facing the prison estate.

The Barbican (Photo – Alastair Moore)

This symposium will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders, policymakers and experts to propose pragmatic policy changes to reduce drug-related harms and improve prison outcomes. The day will include brief introductions to recent research in the area followed by an open space programme resulting in propositions on policy change & best practice.

This event is part of a wider programme of lobbying and engagement to help improve prison outcomes. This research-driven programme is off the back of Volteface’s High Stakes: An Inquiry into the Drugs Crisis in English Prisons, User Voice’s Spice: The Bird Killer & Rob Ralphs, Lisa Williams, Rebecca Askew & Anna Norton’s Adding Spice to the Porridge: The development of a synthetic cannabinoid market in an English prison.

The event promises to be a lively and engaging day with contributions from academics, ex-prisoners, policymakers, campaigners, prison staff, drug treatment workers, politicians and a host of other people interested and engaged with those working or living in our prisons.

If you are interested in attending the event, please contact for further information.

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