Prisoners: Property

Justice written question – answered on 3rd March 2014.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson Conservative, South Staffordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ensure a mandatory increase in sentence for prisoners who are found with contraband items in their cells.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

It is already a criminal offence to possess items such as controlled drugs within or outside of prison and offences can attract significant sentences. The Ministry of Justice is working with the Crown Prosecution Service and ACPO to ensure that serious crimes of this nature by prisoners are effectively prosecuted.

There are specific criminal offences covering many other items such as mobile phones and alcohol if they are conveyed into a prison. These offences attract sentences of up to two years imprisonment. The Government extended these powers in 2012 to make possession of mobile phones within prison a criminal offence and introduced powers in 2013 to allow any unauthorised item to be seized and destroyed. Possession of any unauthorised item within prison is a specific disciplinary offence and can attract up to 42 additional days served in prison for each offence.

While there are already wide-ranging powers to deal with contraband found within prisons, we continue to keep the position under review and will take further legislative action if it is felt necessary to do so.

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