Prisons could get new powers to test for NPS

Prisons could be handed new powers to test for psychoactive substances not currently prohibited by law – but one prisons expert has said the move was “based on a complete misunderstanding of reality”.

Prisoners can now only be tested for substances that are registered under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – meaning many modern manufactured psychoactive drugs go unchecked.

Tory MP Bim Afolami told ministers in the Commons that the “cancer of drugs” like Spice needed to be “exorcised” from the system.

The Hitchin and Harpenden MP, proposing his Prisons (Substance Testing) Bill, said: “In order to add a newly formed manufactured psychoactive drug to a list of prohibited drugs the Government needs to manually add each and every psychoactive drug to that list.

“This can be very cumbersome, very time consuming and relatively easy for drug manufacturers and the chemical experts to get around the law and they do this by producing slightly different versions of such a psychoactive drug.”

Mr Afolami urged the Government to support his Bill, via a 10-minute rule motion, telling ministers it would “untie their hands” in the fight on drugs within prisons.

He added: “This Bill is very straightforward and very simple, it allows a generalised definition of psychoactive drugs, one provided by the Psychoactive Substance Act 2016.

“It allows it to be added to the statute book which will allow Her Majesty’s Prison Service to test prisoners for any and all psychoactive substances going forward, now and in the future.”

The Bill was listed for a second reading on July 6 but is unlikely to become law in its current form without Government support or sufficient parliamentary time.

But Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales said:

“I applaud their willingness to keep going back to this issue, it is vital they do as NPS drugs are a toxic chemical combination that have already claimed around 100 lives in our prisons – and have been responsible for tens of thousands of incidents of violence and self harm too.

“But widening the legal goalposts in this way, is not the solution and it is based on a complete misunderstanding of reality.

“The fact is that prisons can and do already test for NPS.

“Prisons now have around 300 drug dogs trained to sniff out NPS, and HMPPS have had powers to test prisoners for NPS since September 2016.

“Figures drawn from the HMPPS Incident Reporting System suggest there were just over 4000 incidents where psychoactive substances were found in prisons between August 2016 and July 2017 in England and Wales.

“Latest details of how many positive NPS tests there have been is due in July 2018, when HMPPS publishes its next Digest on the matter.”

source: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-09-04/6921/

HMP HUMBER – Prison dealing with significant issues including many young prisoners with mental health needs

#prisoninspections HMP Humber, a training prison holding 1,000 men, faced major challenges in supporting many among its young population with mental health problems and in maintaining security in its large rural site, prison inspectors found. Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said there was “evidence of significant need among the comparatively young population. Many prisoners… Continue Reading

HMP Isis IMB Report: A 10% Staff Reduction Sees Staff Assaults Up Over 20% & Prisoner Assaults Up Over 40%

“Many aspects of the “temporary” restricted regime introduced in September 2013 are still in place four and a half years later, despite repeated assurances from respective Ministers that the staffing situation is being addressed.” The Independent Monitoring Board at HMP/YOI Isis today publishes its 2017 Annual Report. The Board’s main message – as it was… Continue Reading

HMYOI Brinsford no increase in violence but a ‘dreadful’ rise in self-harm

HMYOI Brinsford avoided massive increases in violence seen in many other jails but must address a ‘dreadful’ rise in self-harm by young adult prisoners and change a regime in which they are locked in cells for long periods of the day, according to prison inspectors. Brinsford was inspected in November 2017. Inspectors concluded that “boredom… Continue Reading

Prince of Wales Visits Dartmoor Prison

The Prince of Wales watched inmates performing songs from Carmen and Les Miserables during a visit to a prison. Charles was at Dartmoor Prison in Princetown, Devon, to find out about the work of the Prison Choir Project, which is aiming to find a way to reduce reoffending by building self-esteem. The inmates were joined by professional performance artists for… Continue Reading

HMP Leeds, a large and severely overcrowded inner-city Victorian prison, assessed for the second consecutive inspection, as unsafe with high levels of violence

HMP Leeds, a large and “severely overcrowded” inner-city Victorian prison, was assessed by prison inspectors, for the second consecutive inspection, as unsafe with high levels of violence, according to a new report on the West Yorkshire jail. Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, urged HMP Leeds to tackle the causes of the ‘poor’ safety… Continue Reading

HMP & YOI ROCHESTER – Commendable Progress Despite Disruption From A Rescinded Decision To Close The Prison

HMP & YOI Rochester, a training and resettlement prison in Kent holding adult and young adult male prisoners, had shown encouraging progress despite the “significant disruption” of a period in which it was told it would close but was then kept open, according to a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons. The leadership at Rochester… Continue Reading

Harmondsworth IRC – Holding large numbers of Detainees with mental health problems in ‘prison like’ conditions.

Harmondsworth immigration removal centre (IRC) at Heathrow, holding large numbers of men with mental health problems in prison-like conditions, continued to show “considerable failings” in safety and respect for detainees, according to prison inspectors. Publishing a report on an inspection in September 2017, Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said a 2015 inspection of… Continue Reading

css.php