Tackling drug use in prisons in light of HMP Bedford report
The standards within HMP Bedford have declined to ‘unacceptable levels’ according to a report from the new chief inspector of prisons. This report looked at a host of issues that were identified back in 2014 to see if they had been addressed. That report made 72 recommendations and as things stand only 12 of these have been implemented. In total there were 17 recommendations in the key area of prison safety and only 3 of these have been put in place.
This has led to a host of problems including a dramatic increase in self-harm amongst prisoners. There has also been a 10% increase in the level of inmates developing drug problems while in prison.
This increasing availability of drugs is one of the major concerns raised by the latest inspection:
“The stark reality is that prisoners told us it was easier to get illegal drugs in the prison than it was to get clothes or sheets.”
It is important for the criminal justice system that issues like this are tackled. Prison safety suffers a great deal due to the rate of drug abuse amongst inmates. As well as the increase in illegal drugs, the emergence of NPS / synthetic drugs is also a huge issue.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said prison safety was ‘fundamental’ to the justice system and added that measures must be put in place to tackle the increased use of NPS:
“There are a number of factors, including the availability of psychoactive substances that must be tackled. From today we are rolling out mandatory nationwide testing of synthetic drugs, which will help to end the flow of these dangerous drugs into our prisons.”
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