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39 How. J. Crim. Just. 1 (2000)

handle is hein.journals/hjcj39 and id is 1 raw text is: 



The Howard Journal Vol 39 No 1. Feb 2000
ISSN 0265-5527, pp. 1-13




  Drug Injectors and Prison Mandatory

                         Drug Testing



                         RHIDIAN HUGHES
        Researche Fellow, Department of Social Policy and Social Work,
                             University of York



Abstract: Mandatory drug testing (MDT) is a policy that requires people in prison to provide a
sample to be tested for the use of illicit drugs. Drug injectors are one group of individuals who
spend time in prison. Drawing on qualitative research carried out with male and fanale drug
injectors this article considers their views and experiences of MDT. Five broad themes arose from
the analysis of these data. These themes includepeople's experiences of the test, their strategies to
evade drug detection, punishments for testing positive, the effect of MDT on patterns of drug
use, and, finally, the notions of power and risk are considered in relation to MDT. The artide
concludes with a discussion on the worth of this policy.


Mandatory   Drug  Testing (MDT)   is a policy that requires, by law, people
resident in prison to provide  a urine sample  or other type of specimen
(non-pubic  hair, sweat or saliva but not blood or semen)  for the testing
of illicit drugs (Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, ch. 33). It was
first introduced in a small number   of prisons in February  1995  and by
March   1996  was extended   to include  all British prisons. This article
considers MDT in   relation to the lives of drug injectors in prison. The
first part of this article looks at drug injectors in prison. The second part
provides an  overview of MDT   policy. The third and  substantive focus of
the article draws on a qualitative study that examines the lives of male and
female  drug injectors as they move inside and outside prison. The article
provides an analysis of drug injectors' views and experiences of MDT. The
areas that are covered here  include drug injectors' experiences of being
tested, their strategies employed to evade detection, punishments for test-
ing positive and the effect of MDT  on drug  use. Finally, MDT is situated
within a  wider context  of power  and  risk in prison. The  findings are
discussed  in relation to the existing literature and policy implications
suggested.
   The  article is based  on English  sources.  The  empirical  study was
conducted  in two cities in the North of England and  the article draws on
English policy documents.   However,  where  studies from other countries
in the United  Kingdom   illuminate  English policy these are referred  to
also.

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