Prisons: Drugs

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment she has made of trends in drug-related deaths of prisoners in England and Wales in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The number of drug-related deaths in prisons remains low. However, every death in custody is a tragedy and we work hard to learn the lessons from each one.

The Government believes that prisons should be places of safety and reform. The number of self-inflicted deaths is extremely concerning and we are committed to reducing it. Our recent White Paper set out specific steps that we are taking to improve safety. They include investing over £100m to recruit an additional 2,500 staff across the estate by the end of 2018. We have taken immediate action to stabilise the estate by tackling the drugs, drones and phones that undermine security.

We have also provided an additional £10m of new annual funding for prison safety, supplemented by £2.9m from existing budgets. This has given a significant number of governors the opportunity to improve safety levels in their establishments. The government publishes statistics on deaths in custody quarterly on gov.uk.

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