Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world


 

About

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 am a member of the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (the independent body which advises ministers on the classification of illicit drugs). I am also President of the International Society of the Study of Drug Policy.

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 risk behaviours by young people, 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 gangs and on the ethnography of policy making.

Career

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.

Education
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.

 

Contact Information

Address

Room Gillingham G2-08
Gillingham Building
University of Kent
Chatham Maritime
Kent ME4 4AG

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Publications

Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Article
Coulton, S. et al. (2017). Pragmatic randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a multi-component intervention to reduce substance use and risk-taking behavior in adolescents involved in the criminal justice system: A trial protocol (RISKIT-CJS). BMC Public Health [Online] 17:2-10. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4170-6.
Stevens, A. and Pacula, R. (2017). Advancing knowledge on cannabis policy using evidence from North America. International Journal of Drug Policy [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.02.004.
Aldridge, J., Stevens, A. and Barratt, M. (2017). FOR DEBATE: WILL CRYPTOMARKETS INCREASE THE HARMS OF ILLICIT DRUGS? Addiction.
Ritter, A. and Stevens, A. (2017). Improving knowledge on law enforcement in drug policy. International Journal of Drug Policy [Online] 41:89-90. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.02.001.
Stevens, A. (2016). Configurations of corruption: A cross-national qualitative comparative analysis of levels of perceived corruption. International Journal of Comparative Sociology [Online] 57:183-206. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0020715216665663.
Stevens, A. (2016). Inequality and adolescent cannabis use: A qualitative comparative analysis of the link at national level. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09687637.2015.1136266.
Rhodes, T. et al. (2016). Advancing the science, methods and practices of drug policy research. The International Journal of Drug Policy [Online] 31:1-3. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.04.010.
Fleetwood, J., Radcliffe, P. and Stevens, A. (2015). Shorter sentences for drug mules: The early impact of the sentencing guidelines in England and Wales. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy [Online] 22:428-436. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09687637.2015.1011607.
Stevens, A. et al. (2015). Legally flawed, scientifically problematic, potentially harmful: The UK Psychoactive Substance Bill. International Journal of Drug Policy [Online] 26:1167-1170. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.10.005.
Stevens, A. and Measham, F. (2014). The 'drug policy ratchet': Why do sanctions for new psychoactive drugs typically only go up? Addiction [Online] 109:1226-1232. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/add.12406.
Densley, J. and Stevens, A. (2014). 'We'll show you gang': The subterranean structuration of gang life in London. Criminology and Criminal Justice [Online] Online. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1748895814522079.
Stevens, A. et al. (2014). RisKit: The participatory development and observational evaluation of a multi-component programme for adolescent risk behaviour reduction. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy [Online] 21:24-34. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09687637.2013.787526.
Stevens, A. and 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 [Online] 20:169-174. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09687637.2013.793892.
Stevens, A. (2012). The ethics and effectiveness of coerced treatment of people who use drugs. Human Rights and Drugs 2:7-16.
Stevens, A. and Hughes, C. (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 [Online] 31:101-113. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00383.x.
Stevens, A. (2011). Telling policy stories: An ethnographic study of the use of evidence in policy-making in the UK. Journal of Social Policy [Online] 40:237-256. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0047279410000723.
Stevens, A. (2011). Drug policy, harm and human rights: A rationalist approach. International Journal of Drug Policy [Online] 22:399-403. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2011.02.003.
Stevens, A. (2011). Recovery through contradiction? Criminal Justice Matters [Online] 84:20-21. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09627251.2011.576024.
Stevens, A. (2011). Sociological approaches to the study of drug use and policy. International Journal of Drug Policy [Online] 22:399-403. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2011.10.003.
Schaub, M. et al. (2011). Predictors of retention in the 'voluntary' and 'quasi-compulsory' treatment of substance dependence in Europe. European Addiction Research [Online] 17:97-105. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000322574.
Schaub, M. et al. (2010). Comparing outcomes of 'voluntary' and 'quasi-compulsory' treatment of substance dependence in Europe. European Addiction Research [Online] 16:53-60. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000265938.
Stevens, A. and Hughes, C. (2010). What can we learn from the Portuguese decriminalization of illicit drugs? British Journal of Criminology [Online] 50:999-1022. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azq038.
Stevens, A. (2008). Weighing up crime: the over estimation of drug-related crime. Contemporary Drug Problems [Online] 35:265-290. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=43225942&site=ehost-live.
Reuter, P. and Stevens, A. (2008). Assessing UK Drug Policy from a Crime Control Perspective. Criminology and Criminal Justice [Online] 8:461-482. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1748895808096473.
McSweeney, T. et al. (2008). Drug testing and court review hearings: uses and limitations. Probation Journal [Online] 55:39-54. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0264550507085678.
Stevens, A. et al. (2008). Early Exit: Estimating and explaining early exit from drug treatment. Harm Reduction Journal [Online] 5:1-14. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1477-7517-5-13.
Radcliffe, P. and Stevens, A. (2008). Are drug treatment services only for 'thieving junkie scumbags'? Drug users and the management of stigmatised identities. Social Science and Medicine [Online] 67:1065-1073. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.06.004 .
McSweeney, T. et al. (2007). Twisting arms or a helping hand? Assessing the impact of 'coerced' and comparable 'voluntary' drug treatment options. British Journal of Criminology [Online] 47:470-490. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azl087.
Stevens, A. et al. (2007). The victimisation of dependent drug users: Findings from a European study, UK. European Journal of Criminology [Online] 4:385-408. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1477370807080719.
Stevens, A. (2007). When two dark figures collide: Evidence and discourse on drug-related crime. Critical Social Policy [Online] 27:77-99. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261018307072208.
Stevens, A. (2007). Survival of the ideas that fit: An evolutionary analogy for the use of evidence in policy. Social Policy and Society [Online] 6:25-35. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1474746406003319.
Stevens, A. et al. (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 [Online] 12:197-209. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000094422.
Stevens, A. et al. (2005). On Coercion. International Journal of Drug Policy [Online] 16:203-206. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2005.04.004.
Stevens, A. et al. (2005). Quasi-Compulsory Treatment of Drug Dependent Offenders: An International Literature Review. Substance Use & Misuse 40:269-283.
Hunt, N. and Stevens, A. (2004). Whose harm? Harm and the shift from health to coercion in UK drug policy. Social Policy and Society [Online] 3:333-342. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1474746404001964.
Stevens, A., Bur, A. and Young, L. (2003). People, jobs, rights and power: the role of participation in combating social exclusion in Europe. Community Development Journal [Online] 38:84-95. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cdj/38.2.84 .
Stevens, A. (1998). The development of drug services in European prisons, 1995-1998. Social Work in Europe 5:16-22.
Stevens, A. (1996). The mandatory drug testing programme in prisons. Criminal Justice Matters [Online] 24:20-21. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09627259608552778.
Book
Stevens, A. (2011). Drugs, Crime and Public Health: The Political Economy of Drug Policy. [Online]. London: Routledge-Cavendish. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415491044/.
Research report (external)
Stevens, A., Kessler, I. and Gladstone, B. (2006). Review of Effective Practice in Preventing Juvenile Crime in the European Union. [Online]. European Commission. Available at: http://www.eucpn.org/pubdocs/A%20review%20of%20good%20practice%20in%20preventing%20juvenile%20ccrime%20in%20the%20EU.pdf.
Stevens, A., Kessler, I. and Steinack, K. (2006). Review of Effective Practice in Preventing the Various Types of Violence in the European Union. [Online]. European Commission. Available at: http://www.kuriteoennetus.ee/orb.aw/class=file/action=preview/id=38886/review%2Bgood%2Bpractices%2Bpreventing%2Bviolence.pdf.
Review
Stevens, A. (2008). Drug-Crime Connections. Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews 37:590-591.
Edited book
Stevens, A. (2008). Crossing Frontiers: International Developments in the Treatment of Drug Dependence. [Online]. Stevens, A. ed. Brighton: Pavilion Publishing and Media. Available at: http://www.pavpub.com/crossing-frontiers/.
Book section
Stevens, A. (2017). Principles, pragmatism and prohibition: explaining continuity and change in British drug policy. in: Liebling, A., Maruna, S. and McAra, L. eds. Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Stevens, A. (2015). An integrated approach to the treatment of drug dependence – The English experience. in: el-Guebaly, N., Carrà, G. and Galanter, M. eds. Textbook of Addiction Treatment: International Perspectives. Milan: Springer.
Stevens, A. (2010). Treatment sentences for drug users: contexts, mechanisms and outcomes . in: Hucklesby, A. and Wincup, E. eds. Drug Interventions in Criminal Justice. Open University Press. Available at: http://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/html/0335235808.html.
Stevens, A. (2010). Evidence and Policy - Crime and Public Health in UK Drug Policy(Chapter 10) . in: Yates, R. and Malloch, M. S. eds. Tackling Addiction: Pathways to Recovery. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, pp. 156-174. Available at: http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book/9781849050173.
Stevens, A., Stöver, H. and Brentari, C. (2010). Criminal justice approaches to harm reduction in Europe (Chapter 14). in: Rhodes, T. and Hedrich, D. eds. Harm Reduction: Evidence, Impacts and Challenges. Spain: European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2810/29497.
Radcliffe, P. and Stevens, A. (2009). Early Exit: Estimating and Explaining Early Exit from Drug Treatment. in: MacGregor, S. ed. Responding to Drug Misuse. Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Stevens, A. (2009). Trends in youth offending in Europe. in: Junger-Tas, J. and Dunkel, F. eds. Reforming Juvenile Justice. New York: Springer-Verlag, pp. 1-18.
Monograph
Stevens, A. (2013). Modernising Drug Law Enforcement: Applying harm reduction principles to the policing of retail drug markets. International Drug Policy Consortium. Available at: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/64663568/library/MDLE-report_3_applying-harm-reduction-to-policing-of-retail-markets.pdf.
Armenta, A. et al. (2010). IDPC Drug Policy Guide. International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC). Available at: http://idpc.net/policy-advocacy/idpc-drug-policy-guide-html.
Margo, J. and Stevens, A. (2008). Make me a criminal: preventing youth crime. ippr - Institute for Public Policy Research.
Wilson, L. and Stevens, A. (2008). Understanding drug markets and how to influence them. Beckley Foundation.
Reuter, P. and Stevens, A. (2007). An Analysis of UK Drug Policy. United Kingdom Drug Policy Commission. Available at: http://www.ukdpc.org.uk/docs/UKDPC%20drug%20policy%20review.pdf.
Hughes, C. and Stevens, A. (2007). The effects of the decriminalization of drug use in Portugal. The Beckley Foundation. Available at: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/13325/1/BFDPP_BP_14_EffectsOfDecriminalisation_EN.pdf.pdf.
Dolan, K. et al. (2007). Prisons and Drugs: A global review of incarceration, drug use and drug services. Report 12. The Beckley Foundation. Available at: http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/policy/reports.html.
Stevens, A., Hallam, C. and Trace, M. (2006). Treatment for Dependent Drug Use: A guide for policymakers. Beckley Foundation. Available at: http://www.internationaldrugpolicy.net/reports/BeckleyReport10.pdf.
Bewley-Taylor, D., Trace, M. and Stevens, A. (2005). Incarceration of drug offenders: Costs and impacts. Briefing paper 7. Beckley Foundation. Available at: http://beckleyfoundation.org/pdf/paper_07.pdf.
Stevens, A., Trace, M. and Bewley-Taylor, D. (2005). The Reduction of Drug-Related Crime: an overview of the global evidence. The Beckley Foundation, Oxford.
Total publications in KAR: 60 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

Research interests

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 also work on youth crime and the reduction of youth risk behaviours.

Past
I led the development and evaluation of the RisKit project, which worked with vulnerable 14-16 year olds to reduce their risk-taking behaviours.

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.

Supervision
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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Teaching

Current

I teach on the Criminal Justice and Criminology programme at the Medway campus. I convene the optional modules SO654: Drugs, Crime and the Criminal Justice System and SO705: Criminal Justice Practice

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.

I also supervise third year and MA dissertations, as well as PhD theses.

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Media

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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Projects

  • 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.
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Telephone: +44(0)1227 823072 Fax: +44(0)1227 827005 or email us

SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 19/04/2016