Drug use in prison : a study of young offenders
This thesis explores the motivations, patterns and dynamics of young offenders' illicit drug use in prison. Based on qualitative research with thirty inmates and ten prison officers in a Young Offenders Institution the thesis describes the nature of inmates' drug use; the impact of the prison context on inmates' motivations to use; and the relationship between time and drug use. Drug markets, the nature of drug supply and their relationship with the dominant inmate culture is also discussed. The theory of legitimacy is related to staff and inmates' attitudes towards drug control and mandatory drug testing in prison. The conclusion identifies four main factors that influenced inmates' drug use in prison: individual, structural, relational and societal. Individual factors relate to the inmates' drug use before custody, stressing the need to understand the connection between inmates' drug using lifestyles outside and inside prison. Structural factors relate to the structures and regimes in prison. The organisation of prison life influenced when drugs were used and the motivation for using. The relational factors highlight the extent to which staff prisoner relationships influence trafficking and drug use in prison. Understanding inmates' relationships also provides an insight into drug markets, supply and distribution in custody. As neither the staff nor the inmates are immune to changing attitudes towards drugs, the societal factor highlights the broader structural context of drug use and considers the importance of understanding the complexity and continuity of inmates' drug use and offending, in order to effectively tackle their behaviour in prison.