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Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Paula Sherriff Paula Sherriff Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care), Shadow Minister (Mental Health)

What recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of drugs being smuggled into prisons.

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

One of the first things the Lord Chancellor did was to visit HMP Leeds with the Prime Minister where they set out our focus on tackling crime, investing up to £2.5 billion transforming the prison estate and providing 10,000 additional prison places.

At HMP Leeds there is an X-ray body scanner installed there to identify items internally concealed on prisoners. HMP Wakefield also has an X-ray body scanner. At HMP New Hall in our women’s estate, the drug threat is different and staff there have worked hard to respond to the inspection report published in April. They have put in place an updated local drug strategy, do more suspicion-led drug testing and store medications in line with clinical guidelines.

We have previously invested £70 million to improve safety, security and decency in prisons. We use body, property, cell and area searches across the estate, aided by dedicated search teams and drug detection dogs.

As announced in August, we will be spending a further £100 million on prison security. Airport-style security, including X-ray scanners, will be put into prisons across the estate to help stop contraband such as drugs from getting in.

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