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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Grant J. McGeechan and Aisha Holloway

Evidence in the UK tells us that risky drinking is high amongst those in contact with the criminal justice system. The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons why…

Abstract

Purpose

Evidence in the UK tells us that risky drinking is high amongst those in contact with the criminal justice system. The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons why carrying out research around risky drinking in this setting is so difficult.

Design/methodology/approach

A commentary on the issues of carrying out research in the criminal justice setting.

Findings

There are issues of carrying out research in the criminal justice setting. The authors argue, that as academics we can be more proactive in working with practitioners in the design and carrying out of studies. By examining what the primary outcome of interest is to those that work in the field rather than what funding agencies tell us academics must use, academics may engage in a more co-productive way that enables everyone to achieve what they need. Moreover more work is needed to show how this approach can be achieved both in the UK and internationally.

Originality/value

This editorial explores some of the difficulties of carrying out alcohol research in the criminal justice system and postulates ways that this could be made easier.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Ruth McGovern, Jennifer Birch, Gillian O'Neill, Hannah Kaner, Arun Sondhi and Kieran Lynch

The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence of alcohol use disorders within the different stages of the criminal justice system in the UK. Furthermore it reviewed…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence of alcohol use disorders within the different stages of the criminal justice system in the UK. Furthermore it reviewed the worldwide evidence of alcohol brief interventions in the various stages of the criminal justice system.

Design/methodology/approach

A rapid systematic review of publications was conducted from the year 2000 to 2014 regarding the prevalence of alcohol use disorders in the various stages of the criminal justice system. The second part of the work was a rapid review of effectiveness studies of interventions for alcohol brief interventions. Studies were included if they had a comparison group. Worldwide evidence was included that consisted of up to three hours of face-to-face brief intervention either in one session or numerous sessions.

Findings

This review found that 64-88 per cent of adults in the police custody setting; 95 per cent in the magistrate court setting; 53-69 per cent in the probation setting and 5,913-863 per cent in the prison system and 64 per cent of young people in the criminal justice system in the UK scored positive for an alcohol use disorder. There is very little evidence of effectiveness of brief interventions in the various stages of the criminal justice system mainly due to the lack of follow-up data.

Social implications

Brief alcohol interventions have a large and robust evidence base for reducing alcohol use in risky drinkers, particularly in primary care settings. However, there is little evidence of effect upon drinking levels in criminal justice settings. Whilst the approach shows promise with some effects being shown on alcohol-related harm as well as with young people in the USA, more robust research is needed to ascertain effectiveness of alcohol brief interventions in this setting.

Originality/value

This paper provides evidence of alcohol use disorders in the different stages of the criminal justice system in the UK using a validated tool as well as reviewing the worldwide evidence for short ( < three hours) alcohol brief intervention in this setting.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2009

Dorothy Newbury‐Birch, Barbara Harrison, Nicola Brown and Eileen Kaner

The annual cost of alcohol‐related harm in the UK is estimated to be between £17.7 and £25.1 billion with healthcare costs alone reaching £2.7 billion and the costs of…

Abstract

The annual cost of alcohol‐related harm in the UK is estimated to be between £17.7 and £25.1 billion with healthcare costs alone reaching £2.7 billion and the costs of alcohol‐fuelled crime and disorder accounting for £7.3 billion each year. The aim of the study was to examine the prevalence of alcohol use disorders (AUD) in prison and probation settings in the North East of England, and to compare the ability of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and Offender Assessment System (OASys) at identifying alcohol‐related need in probation clients. A quantitative prevalence study was carried out using anonymous questionnaires with participants from four prisons and three probation offices in the North East who voluntarily completed the AUDIT questionnaire during a 1‐month period in 2006. Response outcomes on AUDIT were compared with OASys scores which identify alcohol‐related need in probation. At the time of the study OASys scores were not available for offenders in prison. Seven hundred and fifteen questionnaires were completed. Sixty‐three per cent of men and 57% of women were identified as having an AUD with over a third of all individuals scoring within the possibly dependant range (20+ on AUDIT). Around 40% of probation cases who were classified as either hazardous, harmful or possibly dependant drinkers on AUDIT were not identified by OASys. The results indicate that the prevalence of AUD in offenders is much higher than in the general population. In addition, current methods of identifying offenders with alcohol‐related need in probation are flawed and as many such people go undetected. Alcohol assessment procedures need to be improved in criminal justice setting order to correctly identify people with AUD.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Katherine Jackson, Tony Hodgson, Eilish Gilvarry, Paul Cassidy, Simon Coulton, Vicky Ryan, Graeme B. Wilson, Ruth McGovern and Eileen Kaner

The purpose of this paper is to examine the prevalence of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) amongst young people in the criminal justice system (CJS) in the North East of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the prevalence of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) amongst young people in the criminal justice system (CJS) in the North East of England and to compare the ability of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) to the Youth Justice Board ASSET tool in identifying alcohol-related need in Youth Offending Team (YOT) clients.

Design/methodology/approach

A validated screening tool (AUDIT) was used to identify alcohol-related health risk or harm. Findings from AUDIT were compared with those of the standard criminogenic risk screening tool used in CJS (ASSET). An anonymous cross-sectional questionnaire was administered during a one-month period in 2008. The questionnaires were completed by 11-17-year-old offenders who were in contact with three YOTs, one Youth Offending Institution and one Secure Training Estate.

Findings

In total, 429 questionnaires were completed out of a possible 639 (67 per cent). The majority (81 per cent) of the young offenders were identified as experiencing alcohol-related health risk or harm and 77 per cent scored within a possibly alcohol-dependent range. In total, 77 (30 per cent) of young people completing both assessments were identified as having an AUD by AUDIT but not identified as needing alcohol-related treatment using ASSET.

Research limitations/implications

This research was confined to one geographical area of England, however, the results show that even in this area of high drinking by young people the levels of AUDs amongst young people in the CJS are very high.

Social implications

There are major social implications to this research. It is imperative for changes to be made to the care pathways in place in the UK for young people coming through the CJS with alcohol-related issues.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the evidence base by using well-validated tools to measure alcohol use amongst young people in the CJS in the UK.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Morag MacDonald, Robert Greifinger and David Kane

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Abstract

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 5 December 2016

Geoff McCombe, Anne Marie Henihan, Jan Klimas, Davina Swan, Dorothy Leahy, Rolande Anderson, Gerard Bury, Colum Dunne, Eamon Keenan, David Meagher, Clodagh O’Gorman, Tom O’Toole, Jean Saunders, Bobby P. Smyth, John S. Lambert, Eileen Kaner and Walter Cullen

Problem alcohol use (PAU) is common and associated with considerable adverse outcomes among patients receiving opioid agonist treatment (OAT). The purpose of this paper is…

Abstract

Purpose

Problem alcohol use (PAU) is common and associated with considerable adverse outcomes among patients receiving opioid agonist treatment (OAT). The purpose of this paper is to describe a qualitative feasibility assessment of a primary care-based complex intervention to promote screening and brief intervention for PAU, which also aims to examine acceptability and potential effectiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 patients and eight general practitioners (GPs) who had been purposively sampled from practices that had participated in the feasibility study. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Findings

Six key themes were identified. While all GPs found the intervention informative and feasible, most considered it challenging to incorporate into practice. Barriers included time constraints, and overlooking and underestimating PAU among this cohort of patients. However, the intervention was considered potentially deliverable and acceptable in practice. Patients reported that (in the absence of the intervention) their use of alcohol was rarely discussed with their GP, and were reticent to initiate conversations on their alcohol use for fear of having their methadone dose reduced.

Research limitations/impelications

Although a complex intervention to enhance alcohol screening and brief intervention among primary care patients attending for OAT is likely to be feasible and acceptable, time constraints and patients’ reticence to discuss alcohol as well as GPs underestimating patients’ alcohol problems is a barrier to consistent, regular and accurate screening by GPs. Future research by way of a definitive efficacy trial informed by the findings of this study and the Psychosocial INTerventions for Alcohol quantitative data is a priority.

Originality/value

To the best of the knowledge, this is the first qualitative study to examine the capability of primary care to address PAU among patients receiving OAT.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

Keywords

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