Alcohol Problems in the Criminal Justice System: An Opportunity for Intervention

Published by

Alcohol is linked with crime, especially violent crime. Many people are incarcerated because of alcohol-related crime. Alcohol is not permitted in prisons except in a very few cases, and illicit use of alcohol in prison is not a major problem. Nevertheless, imprisonment gives an opportunity to tackle alcohol problems in prisoners, with the potential for positive effects on their families and friends and a reduction in the risk of re-offending, the costs to society and health inequalities.

This publication describes an integrated model of care for alcohol problems in prisoners, with elements for best practice. The model starts with assessment of the seriousness of prisoners' alcohol problems, using a validated screening tool, the WHO Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and calls for interventions tailored to prisoners' specific needs.