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The Illicit Economy and Recovery – What we need to understand

TREADWELL, James and Gooch, Kate (2019) The Illicit Economy and Recovery – What we need to understand. Prison Service Journal. ISSN 0300-3558

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In the last decade, the drug economy has transformed, from one based on ‘hard drugs’, to one based on new psychoactive substances. In 2010, there were as few as 15 recorded seizures of new psychoactive substances (PS) in prisons across England and Wales; by 2018, this had risen to 4,667 recorded seizures: more than a three hundred-fold increase. Whilst the use of heroin, cocaine, cannabis, anabolic steroids, and prescription medication continues, it does so on a much smaller scale and it is the use of PS that typifies drug misuse in most prisons. This is not the only change to alter the illicit economy; the availability of internet enabled mobile telephones within prison and the ability to make online financial transactions has diversified forms of prison currency. No longer limited to items available within the prison – such as canteen, personal property and prescription medication – or the use of postal orders to add money to ‘private spends’, “cash amounts” can now be demanded and financed through bank transfers in the community. Such trading is increasingly sophisticated, organised, and connected to wider familial and criminal networks. It is also becoming a more global affair, with the use of social media, crypto-currencies and the ‘dark’ or ‘hidden’ web creating alternative methods of generating and exchanging money. Thus, the prison wall is more porous and permeable than ever before, and the changing nature of criminal behaviour both within and beyond the prison requires a different approach to policing, intelligence gathering and analysis, and multi-agency working.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Criminal Justice and Forensic Science
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2019 14:54
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:55
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