Breaking Free Online is the world’s first online healthcare intervention to be implemented within prisons.

It has been commissioned by NHS England as an integral part of Gateways, a pioneering 'Through the Gate' pathfinder.


It provides essential continuity of care between prison and the community.

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Criminal justice services: prisons and probation

The Breaking Free Health and Justice Interventions are two evidence-based treatment and recovery programmes for substance misuse and offending behaviour – Breaking Free Online and Pillars of Recovery – that have been developed specifically for use in prisons.

  • Allows the consistent and seamless delivery of effective psychosocial interventions between custody and community settings

  • Approved by NOMS as an Effective Regime Intervention (PSO 4350), with the online component accessed via Virtual Campus

  • Commissioned on a licence basis so there are no restrictions on the number of offenders that can be treated

  • Strengthens ‘through the gate’ provision as offenders can use Breaking Free Online in prison and the community post-release

  • Guides offenders to plan for their release and take positive steps to avoid relapse and overdose

  • Builds recovery capital through Pillars of Recovery, a fully manualised 12-session group and keyworking programme

Also available are separate versions of the Breaking Free Health and Justice Interventions that have been tailored to the specific needs of probation services. This also includes Staying Free, an Android and iOS smartphone app that gives offenders an effective relapse prevention toolkit on their release.