Prisons: Drugs

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd December 2015.

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Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the quantities and types of drugs found in each prison, and the additional sentences given to those caught.

Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

We take a zero tolerance approach to drugs in prison.

Strict measures are in place to tackle visitors who smuggle or attempt to smuggle drugs into prison. This includes arrest and prosecution where there is sufficient evidence. Likewise, any prisoner found in possession of drugs will face disciplinary action, which could include a further prosecution and sentence.

In addition, as of 10 November 2015, we have introduced new laws so that those who smuggle packages, including new psychoactive substances, over prison walls will face up to two years in custody.

NOMS collects data on drug finds on a central database. Historically, this data has not included retrievable information on the quantity of the drug find. In October 2015, changes were made to reporting forms to improve data collection to include quantity. The tables below provide figures for (a) the quantities and (b) the types of drugs found in prisons in England and Wales over a two month period between October and November 2015.

It is not always possible to attribute a drug find to an individual prisoner. In those cases where a drug find has been attributed to a particular prisoner, NOMS does not collate centrally information on any additional sentences handed down and to do so would involve disproportionate cost.

Notes to Tables:

  1. All figures in this answer have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. The data are not subject to audit.
  2. It is important to note that many seizures are similar in appearance and require chemical testing to determine precise type. Drugs marked as “unknown” in table 2 have not been tested.

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