Female Drug Users in European Prisons - Best Practice for Relapse Prevention and Reintegration

Heike Zurhold*, Jacek Moskalewicz, Justyna Zulewska-Sak, Xavier Majo Roca, Cristina Sanclemente, Gabriele Schmied, David Shewan, Gabriele Vojt, Heino Stöver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The 12-month study bases upon a multi-site research and provides an overview on current prison policy and practice directed to adult female drug users in European prisons. One of the main objectives of the study was to fill the information gap as regards 1. the prevalence of this specific prison population and 2. the availability of drug services for this population across Europe. The second main objective was to investigate female drug users in selected prisons of the five participating European study centres with regard to their utilisation of available drug services in order to assess prison programmes due to “best practice” for relapse prevention. The participating study centres were;- Hamburg and Bremen, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; Glasgow, Scotland; Warsaw, Poland; and Vienna, Austria. To conduct the project, a multi-method research strategy was developed which consists in structured questionnaires with Ministries of Justice and with adult female drug users in prison, document analyses and oral information from prison authorities and service providers. This executive summary presents the major results of the literature review database generated from the “Prison Services Survey Questionnaire” among the Ministries of Justice of all 25 European Union member states, database generated from the structured questionnaires with 185 adult female drug using prisoners, which have been interviewed face-to-face in altogether ten prisons of the five participating centres.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • drug users
  • female
  • prison policy
  • European


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