Category Archives: Drugs

Tobacco costs twice as much as Spice

erlestokePrisoners 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 cannabis – has been identified as a factor behind the surging levels of self-harm and violence that has gripped much of the prisons estate.

An assessment from HM Inspectorate of Prisons details the drug’s impact at HMPErlestoke, a category C training jail holding around 500 men in Wiltshire.

The report says: “Many prisoners we spoke to said that the availability of drugs, coupled with the recent smoking ban, had contributed to a widespread sense of hopelessness, and that it was difficult to maintain recovery in an atmosphere where so many other prisoners were regularly under the influence of Spice.

“Prisoners also told us that the price of Spice was around half of that for illicit tobacco, which encouraged more Spice use than we have seen in similar prisons recently.

“There were frequent medical emergencies, some very serious, resulting from Spice use, partly due to prisoners smoking Spice without diluting it with tobacco, as is common practice elsewhere.”

A ban on smoking in jails has been phased in since the beginning of last year. Figures released earlier this month showed that 66 establishments in England and Wales are now smoke-free.

Inspectors visited HMP Erlestoke in June and July and found there was “clear evidence” of the widespread use of alcohol and drugs.

Prisoner self-harming had doubled since the last inspection in 2013, and the number of reported violent incidents had gone up.

The watchdog also said it was concerned to find prisoners in a cell with a “significant hole” in the exterior wall.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: “Safety in the prison was not good enough.

“Much of the violence and bullying that did exist was, in our view, linked to a significant drug problem, and yet the prison lacked an effective drug strategy.”

He added: “Overall, and despite our criticisms, we do report on much that was positive in the prison. The management team was relatively new and evidenced an enthusiasm to make improvements.

“There was a sense that with a little more organisation and consistency, and with a determination to ensure policies and rules are complied with, the prison could become much better quite quickly.”

Michael Spurr, chief executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, said: “As the chief inspector points out there is much positive work being done by staff at Erlestoke.

“The supply and use of illicit psychoactive drugs has undermined safety in the prison.

“The governor is working with partners including the police and treatment agencies to address this issue as a priority.

“We will use the recommendations in this report to improve performance at Erlestoke over the coming months.”

Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook said: “I am not surprised by this at all, in fact I am only surprised that others are surprised by it.

“The roll out of the smoking ban is well-intended, the disastrous health effects of smoking are incontrovertible, but it cannot be done in a vacuum – and the Ministry of Justice have been warned and warned about this.

“Now they have simply created another illegal currency in our prisons – get the message: creating new laws on trafficking in our prisons, backed by criminal sanctions are completely impotent when you are threatening to send people to prison who are actually already there.”

HMP Birmingham – Availability of Drugs Still Affecting Safety

The stability of HMP Birmingham was being adversely affected by the high volume of illicit drugs available, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Prison managers and staff were clearly committed to moving on and making progress after the disturbance last year, he added. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the… Continue Reading

Ex-inmates deliberately getting sent back to jail to sell drugs report reveals

Former inmates are deliberately getting sent back to prison to cash in on lucrative profits on offer for selling drugs previously known as “legal highs”, according to a new report. Prices for the substances can jump 33-fold once they cross into jails – providing prisoners with an incentive to go back behind bars to make money,… Continue Reading

‘Shocking’ findings on jail violence and self-harm

The rising tide of violence and self-harm in prisons has been laid bare in new figures which reveal sharp increases in attacks and apparent suicides behind bars. A host of “shocking” findings provided a fresh indication of the scale of the task facing the Government in its efforts to reform jails. The data covering England… Continue Reading

Prison officers ignore use of legal highs and pornography

Prison staff ignore inmates who are under the influence of “legal highs” in a jail where their use is a major problem, according to a watchdog report published today. The Times reported drugs had been found at the rate of ten a month, including very large parcels that had been thrown over the wall, at… Continue Reading

SUBSTANCE MISUSE IN PRISONS – NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES THE MOST SERIOUS THREAT TO SAFETY

The rampant use of designer drugs in prisons is placing local ambulance services under strain as paramedics are increasingly called out to tend to criminals who have used the substances, a watchdog has warned. In one incident involving so-called “legal highs” all of the available crews in a community had to be deployed to a… Continue Reading

Prisoners deliberately seeking segregation to escape drugs and violence

Prisoners are deliberately engineering moves to segregated areas to escape drugs and violence, a new report claims. A survey found that more than a third of inmates who were held in separate units acted in ways they knew would see them moved away from main wings. Reasons for instigating moves to segregation included avoiding repaying… Continue Reading

Legal highs and drones targeted in prison crackdown

Smugglers attempting to sneak so-called legal highs into prisons will face up to two years in jail under a Government crackdown. A new law will also target those using drones to fly materials into jails. Last year authorities recorded 250 incidents of new psychoactive substances being thrown over prison walls but until now police have… Continue Reading

Senior Met Cop Pleads Guilty to Possession of Class A Drugs

A senior gay police officer who was awarded an MBE has pleaded guilty to possession of drugs, Scotland Yard said. Chief Inspector Paul Cahill, 43, admitted two counts of possession of Class A drugs, one of possession of Class B drug, and one of possession of Class C drug. He was given a conditional discharge… Continue Reading

css.php