How the prison environment can support recovery

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Since addiction is not ‘caused’ by one single factor, but instead develops from the interaction of multiple influences, including biological, psychological, and social and environmental factors , it follows that ‘environment’ should play a role in recovery. But what is usually meant by ‘environment’ is things like family, peer group, work or community – (with the associated recommendation to ‘get away from’ bad influences that have previously supported the development of addiction). Environment in the sense of the nature of the spaces inhabited by those seeking to recover from addiction, is rarely considered – and even if it was, the same advice to ‘get away’ would be of little benefit to prisoners who have relatively little control over the nature of their environment. In this paper I ask whether there are certain types of environment – and by that I mean types of physical spaces – that might support recovery in prison. This is an important question to address, at a time when the quality of some prison environments has been criticised in inspection reports, when substance misuse is a grave challenge for the prison system, and when there a live debate about what kinds of new prisons should be built to deliver the government’s plans for a modern prison estate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-49
Number of pages6
JournalPrison Service Journal
Issue number242
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019


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