Clause 1 - Testing prisoners for psychoactive substances and other substances

Prisons (Substance Testing) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:25 am on 2nd December 2020.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Conservative, Wealden

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 1, in clause 2, page 3, line 35, at end insert—

“(7) In the Prison and Young Offender Institution (Coronavirus, etc) (Amendment)(No. 3) Rules 2020 (S.I. 2020/1077)—

(a) omit rule 2(3), and

(b) omit rule 3(3).”

S.I. 2020/1077 added a new substance to the list of “specified drugs” in the Prison and YOI Rules. That list is no longer needed because of the changes made by the Bill and so this amendment revokes the S.I.

Clause 2 stand part.

Clause 3 stand part.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Ghani, and to introduce this Bill on behalf of my right hon. Friend Dame Cheryl Gillan, who cannot be here today. I thank Lorraine O’Shea from my right hon. Friend’s office, who has been invaluable in bringing this private Member’s Bill together.

Clause 1 allows Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service to test prisoners for all psychoactive substances, including any new compounds that emerge. It also allows prisoners to be tested for any controlled drug, pharmacy medicine and prescription-only medicine. It achieves that by using the definitions for those substances and medicines already set out in legislation, including the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 and the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.

It is a feature of psychoactive substances that new substances appear regularly, with slight alterations to the chemical mixture. When that occurs, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service has not been able to test for these new compounds until they have been added to the Prison Rules 1999 and the Young Offender Institution Rules 2000. The most recent example was scopolamine, a psychoactive substance added to the rules in October.

This clause will allow the drug-testing framework to respond quickly to test for new psychoactive substances, or any prescription-only or pharmacy medicines, without first having to amend the rules. Prisons and young offender institutions will be able to better plan for treatment services, identify those who should use them and, where appropriate, impose sanctions.

Amendments may still be made to the rules through statutory instruments to allow testing for substances that are regarded as harmful and which fall outside existing statutory definitions of controlled drugs, pharmacy medicines, prescription-only medicines and psychoactive substances. These are defined as “specified substances” in clause 1. Clause 2 amends the Prison Act 1952 to ensure that a substance cannot be listed as a “specified substance” in rules if it already falls within the statutory definitions of controlled drug, pharmacy medicine, prescription only medicine or psychoactive substance.

Clause 1(4) makes provision for the anonymised prevalence testing for medicinal products as well as controlled drugs, psychoactive substances and specified substances. “Medicinal products” is a wider category of substances than “prescription only medicines” and “pharmacy medicines” and is defined by reference to regulation 2 of the Human Medicines Act 2012. Having an express statutory basis for prevalence testing will provide a useful insight into trends in drug use and support healthcare providers in planning their services and tailoring their treatment programs in prisons and young offender institutions over time.

Clause 2 also sets out consequential amendments following the changes in clause 1. Clause 2 will allow the Secretary of State to make any necessary changes to the Prison Act 1952 in the event of any future changes in the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 or other legislation relating to human medicines. For example, if a substance definition that our Bill refers to were to be revoked in future, we could amend the Prison Act 1952 to include the definition or refer to alternative legislation and avoid any impact to Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service’s drug testing framework.

As we have discussed, the Bill adopts a general definition of psychoactive substances. That allows HM Prison and Probation Service to test for any psychoactive substances. In the past, substances considered psychoactive have been listed in the rules as specified drugs, in order to allow for testing. That is no longer required. It is therefore necessary for the Bill to remove the existing lists added to the Prison Rules 1999 and the Young Offender Rules 2000, as per our amendment. It is better for the statute book explicitly to remove statutory instruments that would otherwise have no effect. That is why we tabled the amendment, which is a minor and technical amendment, specifically in reference to scopolamine.

Scopolamine was added to the prescribed drugs list by statutory instrument in February, so that HM Prison and Probation Service could test prisoners for a psychoactive substance that had come into recent illicit use in our prisons. Were the Bill to become part of the statute book, scopolamine would be covered by the new definition of psychoactive substances inserted into the Prison Act 1952 by clause 1 of the Bill. The SI laid in October would therefore become redundant, so the amendment removes it from the statute book.

Clause 3 confirms the short title of the Bill and makes provision for its coming into force. The clause also provides that the Bill extends to England and Wales only, as prisons are devolved in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

It is an absolute pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Ghani. What an honour to be considering a private Member’s Bill this morning. It is a shame that the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham is not with us, but I know that the hon. Member for North West Durham will continue to take the Bill through the House most ably. He demonstrated his skill on Second Reading. The right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham chose wisely.

The Bill is an important one, and Labour supports its core goal to improve the testing regime for harmful substances in prisons. Substance misuse in prisons is rife, and we are told that it fuels violence and health problems and remains a real barrier to rehabilitation. The physical and mental impact on prison staff, including those who work to provide healthcare and education, can be truly awful.

As the hon. Member for North West Durham said, the current system for enabling substances to be tested within our prisons is just not responsive enough. The drugs that are being produced change rapidly, as do the methods of smuggling them into our prisons. Removing the necessity to introduce secondary legislation every single time a new substance needs to be added to the testing regime is a necessary and proportionate change, which is of a piece with the broader changes made several years ago by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

I served on the Committee for the 2016 Act. If we are being frank, we probably should have provided for this issue in that measure. However, it is very welcome to have a statutory basis for anonymous prevalence testing, so that prisons and healthcare staff, prison leaders and the Government can deliver a faster, more precise and more accurate understanding of what the problems with drugs are, and where they are within the prison system.

I have two brief questions about the drafting of the Bill, which I assume the Minister will be able to answer. I raised them quickly on Second Reading, but understandably at that point I did not receive a full response. As hon. Members will know, there are occasionally issues with the interpretation of the core definition of a psychoactive substance in the 2016 Act. This Bill would copy that definition into the Prison Act 1952. Are the Government confident that the definition is robust enough? Is there a risk that the general power to specify substances to be tested for in clause 47 (3A) of the Prison Act 1952 will still need to be used if these definitions fail? I have noticed that the consequential amendment 1 opts for amending the general power that I just mentioned, so that all controlled drugs—pharmacy medicine, prescription-only medicine, and psychoactive substances—are excluded.

An alternative step would be to repeal subsection (3A) entirely. It might be that the decision to amend it, rather than repeal it, reflects a judgement that the definition of a psychoactive substance could turn out to be inadequate, and that a power to set out specific substances to be tested will still be needed. However, if that amended power in subsection (3A) were ever used in the future, it would still have to make use of an amendment to the prison rules through secondary legislation. That process would be no faster than the one that currently exists. I do not say so to oppose a general power to specify substances remaining in legislation after this Bill hopefully becomes law. However, I would welcome further explanation. Is the general power simply there in case the other definitions drawn from the 2016 Act and the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 fail, or is it there for another purpose? Is another purpose envisaged? I am quite happy to take a note on this, electronically or otherwise, after the sitting. I have no intention of causing any difficulties, but these are issues that have been flagged to us, and we would be grateful for an explanation.

Two of the largest issues where we need greater clarity about the Government’s approach in response to this Bill are addressed by the new clauses that I will come on to introduce. I can see that I am likely to have a majority when I press them to a vote. Before we come on to those new clauses, I want to raise a few other questions and issues which it would be helpful for the Minister to address. The most important question for the Government in relation to this Bill is what are they going to use it for? Once the Bill has provided the power to rectify the problems with the testing regime for Spice and other novel psychoactive substances—as it is very early in the morning and I am a bit tired, I hope Members will accept that I will say “NPS” from now on—how are the Government going to use that power to create a healthier, more therapeutic, and more rehabilitative environment in our prisons?

Something that could result from more accurate testing is more widespread use of punishment for people found to have misused drugs in custody. As I said on Second Reading, this is a difficult issue, because sometimes the punishments that are used could make it harder for people to stop using drugs, rather than easier. Would the Minister tell us more about Government’s understanding of this? Has there been, or could there be, a review of the impact that different types of disciplinary intervention have had on people who are found to be misusing drugs in custody?

The Minister—rightly, in my view— has been looking keenly at the different ways that our courts can respond to offending in the community in a way that solves problems and does not make problems that clearly exist worse. I hear that next year we are going to be considering some of those welcome changes in the sentencing White Paper. In my view, it should be no different when people break the rules in prison. People in prison have had their liberty taken away as a punishment appropriate to their crime and, given the added challenges of living in prison and all that that brings, it is more, not less, important that the disciplinary actions taken solve problems and create the conditions for rehabilitation, not reoffending. The punishments announced in 2015 by the then Justice Secretary included bans on family visits, 21 days confined to cells, removal of TV access and more. We know that the use of drugs in prison can be, or is often thought to be, caused by inactivity, loss of hope and complete and utter desperation.

I worry that greater use of at least some of those punishments might inadvertently lead to people wanting to take more drugs to get themselves mentally out of the situation—even temporarily—that they find themselves in. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be locked up. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be locked in a cell—I am completely claustrophobic and antisocial—with someone I did not like for 23 hours a day. I could imagine in those circumstances, if I were a little bit different, wanting to get out of there in my head, at least temporarily.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

Can I just finish this, because it is not written down and otherwise I will lose my train of thought? This is something where some of us use alcohol. If we have had a rubbish day—not that it ever happens in this place, obviously—we go home for a very large gin and tonic. That in and of itself is almost a way of trying to come down from the stresses we have had and cope with them. Some people use alcohol in much worse ways than that and do not have it under control. All I am trying to say is that we should try and walk for a few minutes in the moccasins of those who find themselves imprisoned and are struggling mentally with all that being in prison means—being separated from their families and children and having their liberty constrained.

Photo of Rob Butler Rob Butler Conservative, Aylesbury

Out of an abundance of caution, I declare that prior to my election I was a non-executive director of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. Notwithstanding what the hon. Lady has just said, does she accept that there is a real scourge of drugs in our prisons and that we must clamp down on them and not do anything to encourage their use? I entirely agree that rehabilitation is the right way to proceed but, equally, nothing must be done to encourage those who seek to bring drugs into prison, create an illicit economy and make the problem much worse.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

I absolutely agree and I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman, especially with the knowledge that he has, for giving me the opportunity of making myself abundantly clear. Those who bring the trade into prisons, who put at risk the lives and wellbeing of our prison staff and prisoners should feel the full penalty of the law. I have no doubt about that at all.

What I was trying and obviously failing to do was to get us to put ourselves in the mind of the prisoner who is taking this stuff and understand that in many ways it is logical to want to free oneself mentally, even just for a few hours, from some of the stresses that people have to endure when there are in prison. The hon. Member for Aylesbury is absolutely right that the full weight of the law should be felt by those who are peddling this insidious, evil stuff in our prisons and taking advantage of those who are most vulnerable. They are completely and utterly despicable. I do not think I could make myself clearer.

I would be really grateful if the Minister might say something about the Government’s understanding of the efficacy of the forms of discipline that are currently used for those who misuse drugs in prison. Is any work going on that might improve them? Obviously another way of intervening in the lives of those who are misusing NPSs in our prisons is to ensure that they get into effective treatment. There is often a medical problem at the heart of the difficulties that requires a therapeutic solution.

I will say more about that issue when we come to the new clauses, which I know will be accepted and cheered from the rafters, but for the moment let me focus a little on the important issue of transitions from community into custody, and vice versa, and from prison to prison. The Government’s statistics on that, contained in the “Substance misuse treatment in secure settings” publication, recognise only two pathways into treatment.

The first is after coming into prison from the community. We know that 90% of people who come into prison from outside and who go on to access treatment are into the treatment programme within three weeks, and 61% access it immediately. That sounds to me like a good statistic, but among people who are moving from one secure setting to another the numbers are a little worse: 41% of those who eventually access treatment after a transfer took more than three weeks to do so, which cannot be good, and just 15% started treatment immediately after their transfer. There is clearly a problem, and I really would like to hear from the Minister what she feels can be done to improve things.

Photo of Bambos Charalambous Bambos Charalambous Shadow Minister (Home Office) 9:45 am, 2nd December 2020

I had the pleasure of visiting HMP Cardiff a couple of years ago with the Welsh Affairs Committee and the Justice Committee. That prison was getting prisoners from Bristol visiting them who were under different regimes—under a different nation’s schemes. That had an impact on the prisoners from Bristol and other areas. Does my hon. Friend agree that there needs to be a more joined-up approach in dealing with this?

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

I absolutely do. It is quite clear that once someone is on a treatment programme it needs to continue seamlessly, because we all want people, when they leave prison and go back into our communities, to be able to do so free from drugs and addiction, and to start a fresh life. My hon. Friend is right, and I am grateful to him for bringing that to our attention.

I gently suggest that the statistics, and Government policy more broadly, might be improved if we stop pretending that prisoners do not start taking drugs while in prison, rather than always going into prison with an addiction. That is the truth of it. The whole system at the moment seems to be geared to discovering who has a pre-existing dependence on drugs and ensuring that they are in treatment, which is good. Do not get me wrong, that is essential, but for drugs such as spice, which has been very common in prisons, it is not the whole story.

There is a third pathway to treatment that we need to ensure is available: a pathway for those people who did not have a drug problem when they entered prison but who, tragically and unacceptably, acquired one while inside. They are the people the system is failing most—the people for whom the boredom and difficulties of prison life are alleviated by short oblivion through illicit drugs obtained inside. I am genuinely hopeful that the Bill will enable treatment for those people. If it does, that will be a massive benefit to communities and families.

I will quickly explore one other issue. The transition between custody and community is often a revolving door, especially for those with drug abuse problems. It may be especially important for spice users. It is very evident that spice is disproportionately used by two populations: prisoners and rough sleepers. We know from last week’s Public Health England substance misuse statistics that in 2019 almost half of those entering treatment for misuse of an NPS had a housing problem—the highest proportion for any category of substances. I suspect that if we accounted for those who use spice but who are not in treatment as well as for those who are, the proportion with a housing problem would be even higher. It is incredibly difficult to hold down a job, maintain positive relationships and a family life, and to keep the mind and body healthy while living on the street. That contributes to higher levels of imprisonment among those who sleep rough.

Homelessness for prison leavers, and what the charity Nacro calls cell, street, repeat, is a priority for us, and I am led to believe that it will be a priority for the Government to reduce reoffending rates in coming years. However, we need to understand how these issues are connected; how many people come into prison with a history of rough sleeping and associated use of spice in a year; how many receive treatment for substance misuse while inside; how many are still accessing spice or other harmful substances while they are inside; how many of these people, when released, go straight back to rough sleeping; and how many are going straight back to spice use if they managed to get clean inside. I hope the Minister will offer to take this issue away and consider whether there is a need for further research, which the Ministry could commission, and how it might best be achieved.

The other important transition is when people leave prison. We need to ensure that leaving prison means starting a new, changed life. It is good for the whole of our community that prisoners, when released, do not come out and reoffend. It is also important for the prisoner that they get a true second chance. Substance misuse treatment is a massive part of ensuring that that can happen. We need to ensure that information about people’s needs travels with them as they leave prison and that treatment is immediate and consistent when they arrive in the community.

There is, unfortunately, little point in people getting clean or stable inside prison if they immediately relapse when they are out, without enough support, in the chaos and confusion of the outside world again. In fact, as we know, after release is the most dangerous time for those using illicit drugs, with appalling proportions of overdose deaths occurring in the first few days after leaving prison, just when we are wanting people to have a sense of hope and rebirth. A Norwegian study found that 85% of all deaths in prison leavers in the first week after release were due to overdoses. A US study found that the risk of an overdose death was 12.7 times higher for a prison leaver in the first two weeks after release from the general population.

Most of these deaths after leaving prison are the result of opiate use—heroin, or even more, drugs such as fentanyl—rather than an NPS. People in prison with an opiate dependence are generally on a regulated dose of a replacement drug as a medication, but when they come out, if they do not have immediate access to continue that treatment, they turn to the black market. At that point, much higher and less reliable doses are sold, which can quickly overwhelm the body, and people die. So getting transitions from custody to community right is a matter of life and death for some, and an essential part of treatment.

A few weeks ago, I met with some amazing NHS staff who work with armed services veterans in custody at HMP Wandsworth. I was delighted to hear that the staff in the substance misuse team leave the prison when those in their care are released, and go with them to their first appointment for community treatment. That is exactly the kind of integrated working that we need, but we all know that it is far from universal.

Can the Minister tell us more about what the Government are doing to improve treatment through the gate, following the recommendations in the report from the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs on custody to community transitions last year? I fully appreciate that she is unlikely to have detailed answers to all my questions at her fingertips, but I think that we, as parliamentarians, could do with them to help to design and monitor effective policy on issues that mean enough to us that we are sat here this morning.

This is an excellent Bill, whose purpose we support, but if it is not accompanied by effective, well-resourced Government policy its benefits will be limited. I am fairly certain that the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham would not be impressed by that at all. I will say more when we come to the new clauses.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

It is such a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Ghani. I will not detain the Committee long on the main points, but I will respond to the points that the hon. Member for West Ham raised. I, like others, give my wholehearted support to my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham for introducing this very important Bill, and to my hon. Friend the Member for North West Durham for acting as its sponsor on her behalf. I commend the excellent work that my right hon. Friend has done in preparation for the Bill, notwithstanding that she has been unable to participate in these proceedings.

Having the privilege of being the Minister responsible for prisons, probation and rehabilitation, I am acutely aware of how necessary the Bill’s provisions are. As the hon. Member for West Ham said, drugs fuel crime both in and outside prison. Moreover, new drugs are constantly emerging on to the market in prison, and criminals are tweaking the chemical compounds of existing psychoactive substances to avoid detection. The Bill ensures that drug tests are responsive to the latest challenges in prisons and young offenders institutions.

The Bill will future-proof the drug-testing framework by adopting the broader definition of psychoactive substances, prescription-only medicines and pharmacy medicines, and it will enable our prisons to start testing more immediately for new drugs substances. More than that, it will enable us to identify new and emerging trends and therefore react quickly to changes in drug use by adjusting the relevant security measures to find specific drug types or the appropriate medical response during an emergency.

There is also the issue of identifying prisoners or young offenders with ongoing drug problems. The provisions in the Bill will enable Her Majesty’s inspectorate of prisons to have a better understanding of which individuals are misusing drugs and therefore to ensure that they get the appropriate treatment, as well as providing evidence of what is possible in terms of prevention.

We have a multifaceted approach to tackling drugs, and the Bill will enable us to continue to enhance our ability to tackle the scourge of drugs in prisons. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for North West Durham for taking the Bill through the House, and to my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham for introducing it.

I will deal with a few of the points that the hon. Member for West Ham raised. She put forward a range of issues, and I will deal with the largest ones. She asked whether we were satisfied with the definition of psychoactive substances. I would like to assure her that we are content that the Psychoactive Substances Act provides HMPPS with a sufficiently broad definition to allow for testing of any new or existing psychoactive substances that may be used in prisons now or in the future. Of course, it is theoretically possible that a substance will fall outwith the definition in the future, so the Bill is drafted to future-proof drug testing in the case of any such eventually. However, that is not an eventuality that we anticipate at this time.

The hon. Lady asked what we will use the evidence we gather for. The key objective of the mandatory drug testing programme is to provide a means of identifying prisoners with ongoing drug problems to ensure that they are offered the appropriate treatment, and I would like to detail some of the work that we are doing on that. However, it is also right, as highlighted by my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury, who has such experience, that we need to tackle those who traffic, distribute and use illegal and illicit drugs, and prison governors should have appropriate sanctions available to them to discourage such offending. The hon. Member for West Ham is right that we need to treat people with drug use, but prisons must take a balanced approach that is consistent with that, and it is important that they have the tools available to them in appropriate places.

Photo of Bambos Charalambous Bambos Charalambous Shadow Minister (Home Office) 10:00 am, 2nd December 2020

The Minister mentioned having a multifaceted approach to substance abuse in prison. A couple of years ago her predecessor mentioned that there was going to be a £10 million investment in scanners and other equipment to detect drugs going into prison—that is the other side of the equation. Could she give us any updates as to what the Government are doing on that? I am sure that is something we would all be interested in hearing about, because we want to make sure that drugs do not get into prisons in the first place.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I am pleased that the hon. Gentleman has raised that point. As he repeated, we do have a multifaceted approach, including limiting the supply—the measures he identified are to do that—limiting demand and providing treatment. He is right that we did a pilot programme in 10 prisons, and as a result of that and other work, we have put forward a £100 million security package, which includes the airport scanners to detect drugs that have been ingested before being brought into prisons. We also have enhanced gate security for visitors and staff, we have mobile phone blockers and we have beefed up investment in the investigation of crimes, so that we can bring people to justice if do the things the hon. Member for West Ham talked about so passionately. We need to stop the crime of supply within our prisons.

The hon. Member for West Ham rightly focused on how we limit demand and actually treat people in our prisons. We have a number of initiatives on that. She will know about Holme House—our first drug recovery prison. It is a £9 million project jointly funded by the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health and Social Care. I am pleased to say that that programme will be evaluated early next year; the early signs are good, but the formal evaluation will take place next year. We also have that on a small scale in a number of prisons. We have enhanced drug-free wings. The hon. Lady rightly says that we should not be punishing and that we should be encouraging, and these drug-free units encourage and incentivise people to live a drug-free life. That is something we are very committed to increasing.

Treatment is very important, as the hon. Member for West Ham mentioned, and we need to help people get on treatment programmes. She rightly said that 90% of people coming into prison, where they are on those programmes, do have access to treatments within three weeks. In fact, 53,193 adults accessed drug and alcohol treatment services within prisons and secure settings between 2018 and 2019. I am pleased to say that 27% of those who were discharged after completing their treatment were free of dependence. The programmes that we are putting in place, having detected people who have problems, are therefore working, and I am pleased to say that that figure is an increase from the 24% who were successfully free of drugs two years earlier.

The hon. Member is right to point out that people sometimes turn to drugs in prison, when they have no hope and not much else to do. That is why we are committed to ensuring that we increase purposeful activity that will get people jobs when they come out. As evidence of that, she will know about our £2.5 billion spending programme for prison builds. We are absolutely committed to providing spaces where people can do good work and have good education in prisons.

Of course, we need to help those who unfortunately become addicted in prison. I do not shy away from the fact that that happens, but the measures in the Bill and all the other measures that I have identified will help us do that.

The hon. Member rightly talked about rough sleepers, and the link between them and prison. Around 60% of rough sleepers have been in prison in the last year, so there is a clear correlation between offending and homelessness. I have spoken previously about the close work that my Department is doing with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that we take people out of rough sleeping and into homes. That will have an impact on turning around the lives of those people who would otherwise come into our institutions.

In the spending review, the hon. Member will have seen the commitment to £237 million that the Prime Minister announced for accommodation for up to 6,000 rough sleepers. She will also have seen a further £144 million for associated support services and £262 million for substance misuse treatment services, which, when fully deployed, are expected to help more than 11,000 people a year. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, through our joint work, is not only taking people off the street, but giving them the treatment they need for their addiction. That spending is a 60% increase on the 2019 SR.

The hon. Member talked about other transitions into the community and between prisons. She is right to identify those points. We are already doing a significant amount of work on transitions into the community. She mentioned the important work that is being done in Wandsworth. That is not one of our RECONNECT programmes, but she will know that we have a RECONNECT service that the NHS is rolling out across the country. That is doing exactly what she identifies: ensuring that those who leave prison engage with community health services and supporting them to make that transition easier. Having spoken to the NHS and the Department of Health and Social Care regularly, I know they are committed to rolling that out in the coming years, in full, everywhere and to every prison in the country.

I agree that there is more work to do on transferring between prisons. That relates to healthcare, NHS records and the work that we need do in prisons, but we are committed across the board to joining up the prisoner journey, not only in healthcare, but in other areas such as education.

The hon. Member mentioned naloxone. That point rightly comes up often, because it is important that, when we release prisoners who are addicted, there are no drastic consequences. Public Health England monitors the number of eligible prisoners who are given naloxone. Currently, 17% of those who have an opiate dependency get naloxone, which is up on previous years. I recognise that it could be more and I know that PHE is doing a piece of work at the moment to monitor performance in relation to take-home naloxone across all prison establishments and to identify best practice. I have spoken to them and they have an ambition that everybody will get it.

I hope I have addressed the hon. Member’s points. The Government are pleased to support the Bill that my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham promoted and that my hon. Friend the Member for North West Durham introduced today, and I commend it to the Committee.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

I thank hon. Members who have taken part today, and I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden, who tried to introduce the measure in a previous Session as a ten-minute rule Bill. It did not quite reach Committee stage, but we are rocking on. I hope we can keep it going today. I thank the hon. Members for West Ham and for Enfield, Southgate.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

I have been remiss, because I have not made it clear that I intend to move my new clauses. The hon. Gentleman might want to wait to thank me until I have divided the Committee several times. That is just a little suggestion.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

I will wait until later to heap praise on the hon. Lady.

Some important points have been raised by Members of different parties, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury, who has brought his expertise to bear today. I know he does not often speak outside Prime Minister’s questions, but I am glad he could grace us with his presence.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.