Targeting mobiles in prisons

The Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced plans to introduce the latest technology to prisons across England to detect the smuggling of mobile phones.

Sep 11, 2008
By Paul Jacques

The Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced plans to introduce the latest technology to prisons across England to detect the smuggling of mobile phones.

It is part of a drive to clamp down on drug smuggling into prisons as it has been proved that mobile phones are used to drive the movement of drugs within prisons.

Currently, devices such as hand-held mobile phone scanners and body orifice security scanners are used only in high security prisons. Under the new proposals these will be rolled out across the country from March 2009.

The plans come in response to David Blakey’s review Disrupting the Supply of Illicit Drugs into Prisons. In this review, Mr Blakey made ten recommendations, of which the wider use of blockers and scanners is one.

There has been a fall in the positive random mandatory drug test results over the last ten years but there are still a significant proportion of offenders who arrive into prison with a history of drug addiction.

An average of 55 per cent of prisoners are problem drug users and some prisons report that as many as 80 per cent of prisoners test positive for Class A drugs on their arrival.

The National Offender Management Service’s drug strategy for prisons comprises of three elements:

•Reducing demand through targeted interventions for low, moderate and severe drug users.
•Reducing supply through security measures and drug testing programmes.
•Establishing effective through-care links to ensure continuity of treatment post release to avoid backtracking in the progress made whilst in custody.

Further information about the plans can be found at www.justice.gov.uk

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