Staff profile

David Best

Professor of Criminology

David wearing a blue shirt and sitting at a table




College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Research centre

Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre, Better Society





I am a Professor of Criminology, where I undertake research around addiction recovery and desistance from crime. I lead research into work on desistance from offending, recovery capital, and pathways to addiction recovery. I am interested in social identity theory and its implications for recovery, recovery and desistance, addiction treatment effectiveness, prison and community connections, and family experiences of addiction and recovery.

I am also Honorary Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at The Australian National University and Chair of the Prison Research Network of the British Society of Criminology

I trained as a psychologist and criminologist, and have worked in practice, research, and policy in the areas of addiction recovery and rehabilitation of offenders.

Teaching responsibilities

I am the Director of Studies for six PhD students studying addiction recovery, gambling, regulation of prisons and drug and alcohol treatment in prisons

Research interests

My main research interests are based around recovery from AOD (Alcohol and Other Drug) problems and about treatment effectiveness. I am increasingly interested in social connections and how they grow and change during and after treatment, and what can be done to support engagement in meaningful activities in the local community.  I am also interested in implementation research and the key role of client participation in effective implementation.

Current Research Interests:

Recent Research Projects:

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

Experience in industry

International experience

I am an Honorary Professor of Regulation and Global Governance at Australian National University, working primarily on regulation capital in a prison setting, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Addiction Studies at Monash University in Melbourne.

I was formerly Head of Research and Workforce Development at Monash University (Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Melbourne), Australia and Head of Research, Eastern Health Australia (Box Hill, Australia) (2011-2014).

I have affiliations and partnerships with Odyssey, New Zealand; the Recovered Users Network (Bosnia) and the Recovery Outcomes Institute (Florida). 

Additional interests and activities

Feb 2019 – worked with staff, prisoners, and outside partners on strengths-based activities at HMP Kirkham.

In the media

April 2019 – Recovery Cities featured in DDN (Drink and Drugs News) ISSN 1755-6236 (pp 6-7).

Musgrove, Amy and Best, David, “Building communities by mapping the assets and strengths that lie within and beyond: An Asset-Based Community Development model in HMP Kirkham and HMP Wymott”, Prison Service Journal, 2019.

Recent publications

I have written more than 270 peer-reviewed journal publications, book chapters, and technical reports.