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Producing gender-blind drug knowledge and representations in prison spaces

Niki Jana White (Department of Law and Criminology, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Greenwich, London, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 1 June 2021

Issue publication date: 8 September 2021




This paper aims to examine knowledge production and problem representation with regard to new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP) annual reports.


Seven annual reports published by HMCIP for England and Wales between 2014 and 2020 have been systematically reviewed drawing on thematic analysis.


This paper demonstrates how framing in HMCIP annual reports produced a characterisation of NPS in prisons that inadvertently obstructed gender-sensitive knowledge production and problem representation. The framing formalised knowledge silences about spice in women’s prisons.


HMCIP annual reports monitor drugs in prisons and this affects how these spaces are represented to government and other stakeholders. This paper provides theoretical and practical insights into how gender-blind knowledge is produced by discussing examples of gender-blind drug representations in a specific policy context.



White, N.J. (2021), "Producing gender-blind drug knowledge and representations in prison spaces", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 236-246.



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