The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Professor Alex Stevens
School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
- 01634 888988
Kent ME4 4AG
I am Professor in Criminal Justice and Deputy Head of the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the Medway campus.
I have worked on issues of drugs, crime and health in the voluntary sector, as an academic researcher and as an adviser to the UK government.
I have published extensively on these issues, with a focus on the sociology of drugs and crime, on the use of evidence in policy and on quasi-compulsory drug treatment. My published worked includes a book on Drugs, Crime and Public Health, studies of decriminalisation of drugs in Portugal, of the right to use drugs, on the ethnography of policy making and the UK Drug Policy Commission’s Analysis of UK Drug Policy (which I co-authored with Professor Peter Reuter), as well as papers on the over-estimation of drug-related crime in policy debates. I have also published reports on youth crime and social exclusion.
My interest in drugs and crime dates back to my time working with UK charity Prisoners Abroad, which provides advice and information to British prisoners held in foreign prisons, and as European project manager and coordinator of the European Network of Drug and HIV/AIDS Services in Prison for Cranstoun Drugs Services.
I also led QCT Europe, a European-funded, six-country research project on treatment for drug dependent offenders, and a project called “Early Exit” on early retention in drug treatment for the Department for Health.
I have a PhD in Social Policy from the University of Kent, an MA in Socio-Legal Studies from the University of Sheffield and a BA in French (in the School of European Studies) from the University of Sussex.
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- Stevens, A. (2011), Drugs Crime and Public Health: The Political Economy of Drug Policy ¸ London: Routledge.
Reviewed by Dr Toby Seddon in the British Journal of Criminology: "So, how well overall does Stevens meet the challenge of articulating an alternative vision for tackling the global drug problem? Broadly speaking, superbly! He strikes exactly the right balance between accessibility and critical depth and has produced a book that will deservedly attract a wide readership."
- Stevens, A. (ed.), (2008), Crossing Frontiers: International Developments in the Treatment of Drug Dependence, Brighton: Pavilion Publishing. Read a review.
Peer reviewed journals
- Densley, J., & Stevens, A. (In press). 'We'll show you gang: the subterranean structuration of gang careers in London. Criminology and Criminal Justice.
- Stevens, A., Coulton, S., O'Brien, K., Butler, S., Gladstone, B., & Tonkin, J. (2013). RisKit: The participatory development and observational evaluation of a multi-component programme for adolescent risk behaviour reduction. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, Online early.
- Stevens, A., & Ritter, A. (2013). How can and do empirical studies influence drug policies? Narratives and complexity in the use of evidence in policy making. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 20(3), 169-174.
- Stevens, A. (2012). The ethics and effectiveness of coerced treatment of people who use drugs. Human Rights and Drugs, 2(1), 7-15.
- Hughes, C., & Stevens, A. (2012) A resounding success or a disastrous failure: Re-examining the interpretation of evidence on the Portuguese decriminalisation of illicit drugs, Drug and Alcohol Review, 31(1) 101—113.
- Stevens, A. (2011) Sociological approaches to the study of drug use and drug policy, International Journal of Drug Policy, 22(6) 399-403.
- Stevens, A. (2011) Drug policy, harm and human rights: A rationalist approach International Journal of Drug Policy, doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2011.02.003.
- Stevens, A. (2011). Telling Policy Stories: An Ethnographic Study of the Use of Evidence in Policy-making in the UK. Journal of Social Policy, 40(2) 237-256.
- Hughes, C., & Stevens, A. (2010). What can we learn from the Portuguese decriminalisation of illicit drugs? British Journal of Criminology, 50(6), 999-1022.
- Schaub, M., Stevens, A., Berto, D., Hunt, N., Kerschl, V., McSweeney, T., Oeuvray, K., Puppo, I., Santa Maria, A., Trinkl, B., Werdenich, W., Uchtenhagen, A. (2010) , ‘Comparing Outcomes of ‘Voluntary’ and ‘Quasi-Compulsory’ Treatment of Substance Dependence in Europe’ European Addiction Research, 16:53-60.
- Stevens, A. (2008), ‘Weighing up crime: The estimation of criminal drug-related harm’, Contemporary Drug Problems, Summer/Fall, 265-290.
- Reuter, P., & Stevens, A. (2008). ‘Assessing UK Drug Policy from a Crime Control Perspective’, Criminology and Criminal Justice, 8,4, 461-482.
- Radcliffe, P. & Stevens, A. (2008) Are drug treatment services only for 'thieving junkie scumbags'? Drug users and the management of stigmatised identities, Social Science and Medicine, 67,7:1065-73.
- Stevens, A., Radcliffe, P., Sanders, M. & Hunt, N. (2008), ‘Early exit: estimating and explaining early exit from drug treatment’, Harm Reduction Journal, 5,13 (25 April 2008).
- McSweeney, T., Stevens, A., Hunt, N., & Turnbull, P. (2008). ‘Drug testing and court review hearings: Uses and limitations’. Probation Journal, 55,5: 39-53.
- Stevens, A., Berto, D., Frick, U., Kerschl, V., McSweeney, T., Schaaf, S., Tartari, M., Turnbull, P., Trinkl, B., Uchtenhagen, A., Waidner, G., & Werdenich, W. (2007), ‘The victimisation of dependent drug users: Findings from a European study’. European Journal of Criminology, 4,4:385-408.
- McSweeney, T., Stevens, A., Hunt, N., & Turnbull, P. (2007), ‘Twisting arms or a helping hand? Assessing the impact of ‘coerced’ and comparable ‘voluntary’ drug treatment options’, British Journal of Criminology, 47,3:470-490.
- Stevens, A. (2007), ‘When two dark figures collide: Evidence and discourse on drug-related crime’, Critical Social Policy, 27,1:77-99.
- Stevens A. (2007) ‘Survival of the ideas that fit: An evolutionary analogy for the use of evidence in policy’, Social Policy and Society, 6,1:25-35.
- Stevens, A., Berto, D., Frick, U., Hunt, N., Kerschl, V., McSweeney, T., Oeuvray, K., Puppo, I., Santa Maria, A., Schaaf S., Trinkl, B., Uchtenhagen, A., Werdenich, W., (2006) ‘The relationship between legal status, perceived pressure and motivation in treatment for drug dependence: Results from a European study of quasi-compulsory treatment’, European Addiction Research, 12: 197-209.
- Stevens, A., McSweeney, T, van Ooyen, M., Uchtenhagen, A. (2005) ‘On Coercion’, International Journal of Drug Policy, 16,4:203-206.
- Stevens, A., Berto, D., Heckmann, W., Kerschl, V., Oeuvray, K., van Ooyen, M., Steffan, E., & Uchtenhagen, A. (2005) ‘Quasi-Compulsory Treatment of Drug Dependent Offenders: An International Literature Review’, Substance Use and Misuse, 40, 269-283.
- Hunt, N., Stevens, A. (2004) ‘Whose harm? Harm and the shift from health to coercion in UK drug policy’, Social Policy and Society, 3,4, 333-342.
- Stevens, A., Bur, A.-M. and Young, L. 2003, ‘People, jobs, rights and power: the role of participation in combating social exclusion in Europe’, Community Development Journal, 38,2:84-95.
- Stevens, A., Stöver, H., Brentari, H. (2010) ’Criminal justice approaches to harm reduction in Europe’, in Rhodes, T. (ed.) Harm Reduction: Evidence, Impacts and Challenges, Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction.
- Stevens, A. (2010), ‘Sentences for drug users’ in Hucklesby, A. & Wincup, E. (eds) Drug Interventions in Criminal Justice, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- Radcliffe, P. & Stevens, A. (2009) ‘Early exit: estimating and explaining early exit from drug treatment’, in MacGregor, S. (ed.) Responding to Drug Misuse, London: Routledge
- Stevens, A. (2009), ’Trends in Youth Offending in Europe’, in Junger-Tas, J. & Dünkel, F. (eds.), Reforming Juvenile Justice, London: Springer.
- Stevens, A. (2006) QCT Europe: valutazione della “promessa” delle alternative alla carcerazione in progetto di ricerca transnazionale, in Berto, D. (ed.), I Trattamenti “Quasi” Obbligatori per Tossicodipendenti: Risultati italiani di una ricerca europea, Padova: Coop. Libraria Editrice Univerità di Padova.
- Stevens, A., Bewley-Taylor, D., Dreyfus, P. (2009) Drug Markets and Urban Violence: Can Tackling One Reduce the Other? Oxford; Beckley Foundation.
- Wilson, L. & Stevens, A. (2008), Understanding drug markets and how to influence them, Oxford: Beckley Foundation.
- Margo, J. & Stevens, A. (2008), Make me a criminal: Preventing youth crime, London: Institute for Public Policy Research
- Hughes, C. & Stevens, A. (2007), The Effects of Decriminalization of Drug Use in Portugal. Briefing Paper Fourteen, Oxford: Beckley Foundation.
- Dolan, K., Khoei, E.M., Brentari, C. & Stevens, A. (2007), A global review of incarceration, drug use and drug services. Report Twelve. Oxford: Beckley Foundation.
- Reuter, P., Stevens, A. (2007), An Analysis of UK Drug Policy, London: UK Drug Policy Commission.
- Stevens, A., Hallam, C., Trace, M. (2006), Treatment for Dependent Drug Use: A Guide For Policymakers. Report Ten. Oxford: Beckley Foundation.
- Bewley-Taylor, D., Trace, M., Stevens, A. (2005) Incarceration of Drug Offenders: Costs and Impacts: Briefing Paper No. 7, Oxford: Beckley Foundation.
- Stevens, A., Trace, M. Bewley-Taylor, D. (2005) The Reduction of Drug-Related Crime Report No.5, Oxford: Beckley Foundation.
My principal research interests focus on illicit drug policies and how they affect drug use, crime and public health. I have an on-going interest in how evidence is used in making policy and in the effects of drug treatment interventions.
I am currently evaluating a risk reduction programme for 14-16-year-olds, designed in consultation with vulnerable young people and called RisKit.
I am also working on the subterranean structuration of gang life in London, and on the links between social policies and drug-related harms.
I directed the Connections project which promoted research and good practice in preventing drugs and related infections in European criminal justice systems.
I led QCT Europe, a European-funded, six-country research project on treatment for drug dependent offenders.
I also led a project called Early Exit on early retention in treatment for the Department for Health. I have also published peer-reviewed articles and policy reports on social exclusion and youth crime.
I am interested in supervising students focusing on issues of illicit drug use, drug policy, drug treatment, drugs and crime and related policies. If you have a proposal in these areas and would like to study at the University of Kent, please email me to discuss further.
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I also share teaching with colleagues on the second year module SO651: Issues in Criminal Justice and the first year module SO329: Introduction to Criminology and Criminal Justice.
In 2012/13, I am introducing a module that combines academic learning with reflective professional experience: Criminal Justice Practice. I also supervise third year and MA dissertations, as well as PhD theses.
- Board member of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy.
- Member of editorial board of Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy.
- Member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology.
- Member of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy.
- Member of the Society for the Study of Addiction.
- Member of the British Society of Criminology.
- Member of the European Society of Criminology.
Websites of interest in this field:
Employability in criminal justice
Does drug policy matter?
International Drug Policy Reform Conference 2011, Reducing Drug Arrests by Shifting Law Enforcement Priorities
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- The Connections project promotes research and good practice in preventing drugs and related infections in European criminal justice system.
- QCT Europe produced evidence for policy and practice on quasi-compulsory treatment of drug dependent offenders (QCT) in Europe. EISS coordinated the QCT Europe research project, which was funded by the European Commission's Fifth Framework Research programme and concluded in 2005.
QCT Europe produced evidence for policy and practice on quasi-compulsory treatment of drug dependent offenders (QCT) in Europe. It included partners in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
- Early Exit, on early retention in treatment for the Department of Health. EISS has completed work on this project, funded by the Department of Health, which aimed to estimate and explain the phenomenon of dependent drug users dropping out very early from treatment.
It involved quantitative and qualitative research with samples of drug treatment staff and service users in three drug action team areas. It was funded by the Department of Health and carried out in collaboration with ICPR. The project was led by Alex Stevens, with fieldwork and analysis carried out by Polly Radcliffe. Download the final report.