High Stakes: Prison Drug Policy Symposium

Implementing Effective Drug Policies within Custodial Institutions – Closing the Gap between Rhetoric and Reality

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.


  • Supply & security – Discussing current policies surrounding reducing the supply of drugs into the prison estate.
  • Monitoring (drug testing) – Examining the objectives behind mandatory drug testing, its limitations and potential reforms.
  • Demand – Assessing the nature of demand for drugs within prisons, current policies aimed at reducing demand and how to improve upon those policies.


  • Ex-prisoners – User Voice
  • George McBride – Volteface
  • Rob Ralphs & Rebecca Askew – Manchester Metropolitan University

Recent Reports:

This event is invitation only. To RSVP please reserve a ticket through Eventbrite. If you would like to recommend an attendee please contact george@volteface.me

Venue and full programme to be announced in the coming weeks. See here for updates on the event:


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