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Presentation of a Qualitative Study on Addiction Self-Help Programmes in the Context of Prison

As part of a study, two Blue Cross self-help groups in the open prison of the JVA Spremberg were analysed. The aim was to understand the practices, interpretations and social negotiations associated with the addiction self-help programme.

Two self-help groups in open prison were analysed as part of a study. The aim was to understand the practices, interpretations and social negotiations associated with addiction self-help services.

As part of the research, two addiction self-help groups in open prison were examined from multiple perspectives in spring and summer 2023. The data collection included participant observation of the group meetings in women's and men's prisons. In addition, two group discussions and eight individual narrative interviews were conducted with female and male prisoners as well as interviews with a released woman, two prison officers and two specialists. The study was conducted under the direction of Prof. Dr. Friederike Lorenz-Sinai and with the scientific assistance of Lara Schaper. Eight social work students were also involved in the surveys and analyses as part of a real-life laboratory.  

The aim of the study is to analyse in depth the practices, interpretations and social negotiations associated with the addiction self-help services and which arise among the actors involved. From the empirical findings, indications can be derived on the question of how addiction support services can be organised in prison and after release.

The research report will be published in June 2024. Friederike Lorenz-Sinai and Lara Schaper will also present the research findings to interested experts at a symposium on the 4th of July 2024 at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.

The following experts from the fields of addiction support and prison research will categorise, comment on and discuss the findings Eileen Ullrich (Criminological Service, Ministry of Justice of the State of Brandenburg), Prof. Dr. Jens Borchert (Merseburg University of Applied Sciences), Judith Aillaud and Prof. Dr. Haiko Schlink (Blaues Kreuz e.V.) and Dr. Karlheinz Keppler. All interested parties are cordially invited to attend!


10.00 am: Opening and welcoming address by Prof. Dr. Frank Früchtel, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam

10.15 am: Keynote speech: Substance-related addiction problems in prison admissions – State-specific Insights 
Eileen Ullrich – Criminological Service (Ministry of Justice of the State of Brandenburg)

10.30 – 11.15 am: Presentation on the study on addiction self-help in open prisons – Presentation of the results
Prof. Dr. Friederike Lorenz-Sinai (University of Applied Sciences Potsdam), Lara Schaper (University of Applied Sciences Potsdam)

11.15 am – 12.00 pm: Commentary, questions and discussion
Commentary: Prof. Dr. Jens Borchert (University of Applied Sciences Merseburg)

12.00 pm – 1.00 pm: Lunch break

1.00 pm – 1.45 pm: Panel discussion: What's next for addiction support in the prison system?
The panel will discuss: Prof. Dr. Jens Borchert, Judith Aillaud, Prof. Dr. Haiko Schlink (Blaues Kreuz), Dr. Karlheinz Keppler

1.45 pm – 2.00 pm: Conference summary and outlook
Prof. Dr. Friederike Lorenz-Sinai

Moderation: Lara Schaper

Registration at:

Format: hybrid

Target audience: Professional audience

04/07/2024, 10.00 am – 2.00 pm

Self-Help in the Context of Addiction, the Penal System and Release from Prison

Location: House 3
Room: 008

Fachbereich Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaften

Social and Educational Sciences Department

Room 105
Prof. Dr. phil. Friederike Lorenz-Sinai
Professorship for Methods of Social Work and Social Work Research


Ulrike Weichelt
Coordinator Event Management and Deutschlandstipendium