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Prisons: Drugs

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 52113, tabled on 7 November 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment she has made of the potential effect on the number of cases of possession of legal highs by prisoners of an increase in the number of prison staff.

Answered on

18 November 2016

We take a zero tolerance approach to drugs in prisons and have implemented a range of initiatives in response to the use of dangerous psychoactive substances. These initiatives include: mandatory drug testing across the prison estate, introducing legislation so that anyone found in possession of psychoactive substances in prisons can face up to two years in prison, and training over 300 drug detection dogs to specifically detect psychoactive substances. We are also working with the Department of Health and other partners to improve our understanding of the risks NPS present for offenders and to provide appropriate information, guidance and support to offenders and those working with them in prison.

The Justice Secretary has been clear that levels of violence in prisons are unacceptable and has announced a major overhaul of the prison system including 2,500 extra frontline prison officers. These extra officers and new safety measures will help us crack down on the toxic cocktail of drugs, drones and mobile phones that are in our prisons. Our measures will create prisons that are places of safety and reform, giving prisoners the education and skills they need to turn their back on crime for good.