Prisoner on Prisoner Drug Searches in Prisons in England and Wales: ‘Business as Usual’.

Prof. Jenny Fleming1, Dr   Joanne  Wilkinson1

1University Of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
2University of Southampton , Southampton, United Kingdom

Prisoner reported drug and contraband searches in adult men’s prisons in England and Wales represented almost a quarter of reported and recorded ‘sexual assaults’ from 2004-2014. These searches are more likely to involve multiple perpetrators and weapon use than other types of sexual assaults and are most frequently carried out in the relative privacy of a cell. The research presented here is based on an analysis of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (formerly the National Offender Management Service) Incident Recording System data, providing insights into the proportion of recorded sexual assaults which are related to drug searches. This analysis enables a distinction to be made between prisoner on prisoner drug and contraband searches and other sexual assaults.  Analysis shows that prisoner on prisoner searches are frequent, often pre-meditated, brutal and appear to be an accepted aspect of everyday prison life.


Professor Jenny Fleming is Head of Criminology in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Southampton. She is (since 2014) the Editor-in-Chief of Policing and Society: an international journal of research and policy. Recent Publications include: Fleming, J and Brown, J (2021) Policewomen’s experiences of working during lockdown: Results of a survey with officers from England and Wales, Policing: a journal of Policy and Practice; Fleming, J., & Brown, J. (2021). Staffing the force: police staff in England and Wales’ experiences of working through a COVID-19 lockdown. Police Practice and Research, 1-18.


Aug 26 2021


8:00 am - 6:00 pm