Conclusions: Shifting Agendas and Policy Networks



The aim of this final chapter is to reflect on the pervasive themes which have emerged from this history of drugs policy development in prisons and to consider these in relation to the activities of policy networks and future policy agendas. The ‘problem’ of drugs in prisons has shifted from being a relatively obscure policy issue to a mainstream one. Over the four phases of policy development, drug issues within the penal system have become fully institutionalised in government policies and bureaucracies. The preceding chapters have illustrated a growing contradiction between treatment on the one hand and punishment on the other. This contradiction has become more intense, acute and difficult to contain and manage over time. In response, a significant shift has occurred from a situation of ‘no policy’ to a more explicit and defined prison drugs policy. The first phase of policy development was characterised by policy which was implicit, unstated, informal, private and internal. During the second phase, there was a move towards more formal, documented policy, taking the form of loose guidelines which were subject to local variations in implementation. The last two phases were characterised by policy which was much more explicit, formal, public and overt compared with the previous phases.


Policy Development Criminal Justice System Policy Process Drug Policy Policy Network 
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Copyright information

© Karen Duke 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex UniversityEngland

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