Author Archives: prisonsorguk

Approved premises need more effective focus on drug testing and managing the risks of substance abuse, says Ombudsman

 

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Approved Premise (APs), home to people released from prison or on bail or court orders, need more effective drug testing practices and better staff guidance to identify and address the risks associated with substance misuse, and support individuals, according to a report by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO).

Overdoses of opiate and other drugs, including alcohol, by people released from prison remain a significant risk, the PPO ‘Learning Lessons’ bulletin found. People are at a higher risk of overdose if they slip back into drug and alcohol use after periods of abstinence or detoxification.

The bulletin – Approved Premises – substance misusebased on findings from deaths in APs investigated by the PPO also raised significant concerns about New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). These range from stimulants to hallucinogens and are commonly seen in prisons and the community as synthetic cannabinoids, known by names such as Spice and Mamba.

Elizabeth Moody, the acting Ombudsman, said: “The rise of New Psychoactive Substance use in the prison estate is well documented and is widely recognised, in the words of the previous Ombudsman, as a “game-changer”. However, it is clear from our investigations that the implications of NPS for the AP estate have not yet been fully understood or addressed by the National Probation Service (which is responsible for APs).”

The PPO examined 29 of their investigations into AP deaths that were drug-related, or where there was a history of substance misuse. The bulletin expressed concern that testing for NPS in APs “appears to lag behind that in prisons and does not draw on the experience of prisons”. One case study in the bulletin discloses that AP staff were unable to test a man despite their concern he had taken NPS.

The PPO found some good practice in the management and care for those who misuse drugs and alcohol. However, Elizabeth Moody added, “we also see cases with too little focus on the risk of relapse and overdose.”

Some of the PPO investigations identified deficiencies in information sharing and in welfare checks. The bulletin made a number of recommendations relating to:

  • Ensuring a good flow of information between stakeholders, which is critical, particularly for managing substance misuse where there is a clear requirement for effective multi-disciplinary working. PPO investigations found this did not always happen.
  • Checks on the welfare of AP residents – another important way to ensure the risks associated with substance abuse are well managed. PPO investigations found checks were not always carried out effectively.
  • An overarching need for the National Probation Service to improve the AP manual to give staff better guidance on NPS use, information sharing and making welfare checks.

Elizabeth Moody said:

“We know offenders can be at heightened risk of death following their release into the community. I hope this bulletin will help AP staff apply the learning from our investigations to improve the ways they identify, monitor and address the risk factors associated with substance misuse.”

The bulletin is available here – https://www.ppo.gov.uk/?p=10336

HMP NORTH SEA CAMP – A Safe Jail Mixing Sex Offenders With Other Prisoners With Little Violence Or Hostility

HMP North Sea Camp, a category D resettlement prison near Boston in Lincolnshire, mixed sex offenders with other prisoners but achieved an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence, according to a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP). Inspectors found negligible levels of violence and use of force by staff, earning the prison – home to just… Continue Reading

Shocking Official Proof of IMB Cowardice and Acquiescence

By Mark Leech, Editor: The Prisons Handbook / Cell Companion / Converse Read the shocking official proof that the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) must now be completely disbanded and reorganised  The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at HMP Magharberry have agreed to give the Governor 24 hours advance notice of Night Visits to the prison – despite… Continue Reading

Tobacco costs twice as much as Spice

Prisoners can buy the drug known as Spice at half the cost of illicit tobacco behind bars, an inspection report reveals. Inmates at one jail described how the availability of drugs, coupled with a recently imposed smoking ban, had helped fuel a sense of “hopelessness”. Spice – a synthetic substance that mimics the effects of… Continue Reading

Should we look to Scotland to Reduce Reoffending?

There were far fewer serious assaults in Scotland’s prisons over the last year than in jails in England and Wales, new official figures show. Taking prisoner population into account, 73% fewer serious assaults were recorded in jails north of the border, according to the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe). The news follows comments made last… Continue Reading

Man accused of murdering Pentonville inmate ‘Planned to broker peace treaty’

A Congolese immigrant accused of murdering a fellow Pentonville prison inmate planned to broker a “peace treaty” with him by offering to share his smuggled weed, a court heard. Basana Kimbembi, 35, allegedly stabbed Jamal Mahmoud (right), 21, in a dispute over the ownership of a parcel which had been smuggled into the north London jail the… Continue Reading

‘Charismatic’ killer of Lee Rigby has converted prisoners to Islam, judge told

A Muslim extremist jailed for life after being convicted of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby is looked up to by fellow prisoners, a High Court judge has been told. Michael Adebolajo was “charismatic” and intelligence suggested that he had helped convert other inmates to Islam, Mr Justice Langstaff heard. Detail of the influence Adebolajo… Continue Reading

Prisoners Should Be Allowed To Vote Because…. in a democracy everybody counts

By: Mark Leech It has been almost eight years since David Cameron said it made him “physically ill” to be forced to give prisoners the vote –  well today he may be reaching for his sick bag. Media reports state that Justice Secretary David Lidington has circulated to his Cabinet colleagues his plan to allow those… Continue Reading

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