Drug Abuse (Prisons)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th February 1997.

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Photo of Mr Patrick Nicholls Mr Patrick Nicholls , Teignbridge 12:00 am, 20th February 1997

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what strategies the Prison Service has in place for combating drug abuse in prisons. [15291]

Photo of Ann Widdecombe Ann Widdecombe , Maidstone

The Prison Service drugs strategy was launched in April 1995. It balances tougher controls, including mandatory drugs testing to limit the supply of drugs in prisons, with a greater range of treatment options for prisoners identified as drug misusers.

Photo of Mr Patrick Nicholls Mr Patrick Nicholls , Teignbridge

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the worst aspects of illicit drug use in prisons is the pressure that it puts on particularly vulnerable prisoners? Does she agree that, if it were thought that a more restricted visiting regime was the only way of stamping out drug misuse, such a regime should be introduced, even if it produced the inevitable squealing from civil liberty lobbies?

Photo of Ann Widdecombe Ann Widdecombe , Maidstone

Prisoners who are found with drugs that are believed to have been passed to them during visits can already be put on closed visits for a period. We also now have cameras in most visiting rooms, visitors are carefully searched, and prisoners are searched both before and after visits. We are also making more use of drug dogs. We have a tough policy in place to combat the use of drugs.