MOST UK prisons are ineffective in dealing with alcohol-related criminal behaviour, according to a commission headed by a Durham University expert.

The survey by the Alcohol and Crime Commission found that while many prisoners will stay ‘dry’ during their sentence, there is little support to help them understand what part alcohol played in their offending.

The report, commissioned by leading addiction charity, Addaction, also showed 70 per cent of prisoners surveyed admitted they had been drinking when they committed the offence for which they were jailed. Yet only half of those prisoners recognised their drinking as a problem.

Professor John Podmore, a professor at Durham University and ex-governor of Belmarsh, Swaleside and Brixton prisons, who heads up the Commission, said: “What we have is a booze-fuelled revolving door and a system that doesn’t understand the complexities of alcohol-related crime.”

A lack of support on release means that many prisoners return to a life of crime, with alcohol playing a key part.

The report found that while 76 per cent of prisoners were aware of alcohol-related support within the prison, only 40 per cent knew about support outside.

It was clear that prisoners who had developed unhealthy and dangerous relationships with alcohol were being missed.

The commission is now calling on the UK Prison Service to implement a number of key proposals.

These include: That alcohol-treatment services for prisoners should form a key part of any prison rehabilitation, and that this must include continuing support for prisoners as they reintegrate into the community; and that all frontline staff in UK prisons receive expert alcohol awareness training and are able to identify problematic behaviour.

Prof Podmore said: “These are all important and tangible measures. And if we implement them, I’ve absolutely no doubt that we’ll make a huge dent in the rates of reoffending.”