Containing contradictions : the development of prison drugs policy in England since 1980
This thesis is a study of policy networks in the development of prison drugs policy in England during the late twentieth century. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with key actors in the policy process, including civil servants and representatives from drug agencies, penal reform groups and professional associations, and an analysis of documentary materials, it examines the role and influence of policy networks in policy development. The thesis is multi-disciplinary in its approach, drawing on concepts, theories and research from a variety of disciplines including criminology, social policy, sociology, political science and public administration. The analysis is based upon the construction of a series of four case studies which correspond to the key phases in prison drugs policy development since 1980: 1980-1986; 1986-1993; 1993-1997; and 1997-. It explores policy development around drug treatment and throughcare, HIV / AIDS and drug misuse, supply reduction activities and security and control measures. The development of policy has hinged upon complex patterns of conflict, contradiction and convergence between treatment and punishment. Throughout the phases, particular policy networks have evolved around drug-related issues within the penal system, expanding and becoming more complex in their structure and operation over time. They have attempted to contain, balance and negotiate the contradictions within policies. This 'balancing act' or 'containment' has taken many different forms and has been shaped by several processes or forces: the way in which the drug problem has been framed and defined; the role of research, evidence and knowledge; and the impact of wider social political policy and institutional contexts. The conclusions of the thesis are: first, as prison drugs policy became more explicit and defined, the contradiction between treatment and punishment became more acute; second, the shift towards a more explicit policy was shaped by the activities of the policy networks, which in turn were influenced by changes in the drug problem, the role of research, and changes within the wider social political policy and institutional contexts; third, the role and power of the policy networks has varied over the different phases of policy development; fourth, in the process of engaging in policy development and attempting to contain the contradictions between treatment and punishment, the policy network around drug issues in prisons has changed shape with key players becoming incorporated by the state.