On 3-4 September 2020, the Pompidou Group held an interactive webinar on ‘Subcultures and drug use in prisons – Approaches to improving security and treatment provision’ which was organised for prison employees in the Republic of Moldova. It was the first discussion on this topic with more than 50 participants, bringing together specialists of the respective security departments, medical services and reintegration units of all 18 penitentiaries.
The central assumption discussed at the webinar was that manifestations of certain codes of prison subcultures can have an adverse effect on health services and security interventions that are designed to reduce drug use and related harm in prisons. Diminishing the influence of prison hierarchies and subcultures could thus improve the effectiveness of drug control measures as well as drug treatment and harm reduction services. When opening the webinar, the Director of the National Administration of Penitentiaries of the Republic of Moldova encouraged participants to discuss the important aspects of the topic. In addition, some top international experts shared their experiences and insights with the participants.
The discussions raised important questions which are planned to be explored within further Pompidou Group activities on this topic in the Republic of Moldova.