Breaking Free Group are global pioneers in implementing evidence-based online healthcare interventions in secure environments. Within UK prisons these are delivered via Virtual Campus, Digital Hub and secure tablet devices.

Our solutions provide expert behavioural support for offenders in a consistent, accessible and scalable way that extends beyond the prison gate from custody to community. This helps to reduce the massive costs, health harms and disruption associated with substance misuse and smoking in prisons.

Breaking Free from Substance Use (Justice)

This digital intervention directly addresses the misuse of 70 different substances – including alcohol, opiates, new psychoactive substances and prescribed medications of abuse – whilst also targeting mental health and desistance. Tailored specifically to the prison environment, it includes strategies to help offenders prepare for their release and reduce the risk of overdose and reoffending.


The programme is the only digital intervention to be approved by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) as an Effective Regime Intervention (PSO 4350) and accredited by the Correctional Services Advice and Accreditation Panel (CSAAP), whose remit at the Ministry of Justice is to accredit gold-standard interventions that will reduce reoffending. It is also accredited by OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA) awarding body, meaning offenders can gain a qualification in Life and Living Skills through working on their recovery from substance dependence.

As well as reducing demand for drugs within prisons, Breaking Free from Substance Use provides essential continuity of care for substance-involved offenders when they are transferred between prisons or released back into the community, thereby strengthening the provision of ‘Through the Gate’ care.

In addition to the UK version of the programme, there is a fully localised version for deployment in secure correctional facilities in the United States.

Pillars of Recovery (Justice)

This fully manualised 12-session group and key working programme targets the links between substance misuse and offending behaviours whilst also addressing mental health difficulties.

Designed to complement Breaking Free from Substance Use, there are separate versions of Pillars of Recovery for prisons and probation settings. Both versions are, like the digital programme, approved by HMPPS as Effective Regime Interventions (PSO 4350) and fully accredited by CSAAP and OCR.

Each of the 12 group work sessions of Pillars of Recovery is complemented by a one-to-one key working session which consolidates the programme content, facilitates skills acquisition, and helps minimise attrition. To download an overview of the session structure and content, click here.

The pre- and post-intervention assessments for Pillars of Recovery are undertaken in an efficient, paperless way via a secure website. This allows substance-involved offenders to receive personalised progress reports and certificates, and the prison or probation service to monitor outcomes in real-time via an online dashboard, as with our digital interventions.


Breaking Free from Smoking (Justice)

This clinically-robust digital intervention for smoking cessation has been developed specifically for the prison environment.

The programme delivers personalised behavioural support for smoking cessation in a scalable and accessible way. It widens treatment choice for offenders, including those who want to quit in a nicotine-free way, and can be used either as a stand-alone intervention or in conjunction with NRT, medication or e-cigarettes.


Breaking Free from Smoking (Justice) seamlessly integrates 26 evidence-based behaviour change techniques – drawing on cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness, motivational enhancement therapy and relapse prevention – and its structure and content is consistent with National Centre for Smoking Cessation Training (NCSCT) guidance.

The digital intervention is complemented by a three-session structured group behaviour therapy programme, the Breaking Free Group Programme for Smoking Cessation. This is sequenced to move offenders through the stages of change from contemplation (preparation to quit) to action (management of nicotine cravings) to maintenance (emotional regulation).