Prisons: Drugs

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 19 October 2020.

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Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will provide an estimate of the volume of the reduction of illegal drugs smuggled into prisons he expects to be delivered through the implementation of the National Prison Drugs Strategy.

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

By its very nature, drug trafficking is intended to be a clandestine activity. It is therefore not possible to estimate a volume reduction in drugs being smuggled into prisons. However, we are taking a number of steps to strengthen our prisons’ defences against this type of criminality.

To support the ‘reducing supply’ strand of the National Prison Drugs Strategy, we are taking decisive action to improve security. This will make it much harder for illicit items to be smuggled in by prisoners, staff and visitors; strengthen staff resilience to corruption; and target organised criminals who exploit prisons as a lucrative illicit market. This package of measures is being funded through the £100m investment to tackle crime behind bars, announced by the Prime Minister last summer. This is funding tough new measures including X-ray body scanners to detect items smuggled inside prisoners’ bodies. Our ability to tackle drugs supply is also supported by efforts to reduce demand for drugs. This is why the National Drugs Strategy takes a three-pronged approach and focusses on tackling supply, reducing demand and building recovery from substance misuse.

A planned evaluation of the £100m investment will consider the wider benefits and outcomes for the safety and security of prisons as measures of success. It will use a range of both quantitative and qualitative measures to assess whether delivery of the investment has successfully reduced drug trafficking into prisons through the targeted supply routes.

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