Professor Rick Lines

Professor, Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792 513897

Research Links

Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Rick joined the faculty of the School of Law in 2018. He has been called ‘a key figure in the emerging field of human rights and drug policy’, and is known for his leading research and teaching on subjects including international drug control law, prisoners' rights, HIV and human rights, capital punishment and harm reduction.  Prior to joining Swansea University, Rick worked for over 25 years with national and international non-governmental organisations in Canada, Ireland and the UK.

Rick is Co-Director of the Centre on Criminal Justice and Criminology within the School of Law.  He is also a Senior Research Associate with the Swansea University Global Drug Policy Observatory and a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex.

He is the former Executive Director of Harm Reduction International (2010-2018) and the Irish Penal Reform Trust (2003-2007), and for more than a decade represented NGOs at high level United Nations fora including the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UN Human Rights Council and the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board. Rick is a past member of the Strategic Advisory Group to the United Nations Drug Use and HIV, the Technical Advisory Group to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law and the Reference Group to the United Nations on HIV and Injecting Drug Use.

He holds an MA in Sociology (York University, Toronto), an LLM in International Human Rights Law (Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway) and a PhD in Law (Middlesex University, UK). His first book, Drug Control and Human Rights in International Law, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. Rick is currently editing a new book, ‘After the War on Drugs: Harm Reduction and Human Rights in Post-Prohibition Scenarios’, to be published by Routledge in 2022.

Areas Of Expertise

  • International Drug Control Law
  • Human Rights and Drug Policy
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Harm Reduction
  • Prisoners' Rights and Prison Reform
  • Capital Punishment
  • HIV and Human Rights