A ‘zero tolerance approach to drugs’ forms a central part of the government’s proposed new prison strategy, launched the day after its ten-year drug strategy, From harm to hope (https://www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/government-announces-largest-ever-increase-in-treatment-funding).
All prisoners will be assessed on arrival for drug and alcohol issues, says the Prisons strategy white paper, with a ‘comprehensive plan to support them to properly recover from day one’ – including abstinence-based treatment. New-build prisons will also have airport-style security, including ‘cutting-edge’ body scanners, to prevent people from ‘continuing criminal activity’ while in prison. ‘It is crucial that we close off every avenue for the entry of drugs into our prisons to uphold stability, order and rehabilitation efforts,’ the document states, adding that the government will also ‘carefully consider the merits of piloting the introduction of drugs testing of staff’.
New key performance measures and public league tables will ‘incentivise’ the spread of best practice in areas including drug and alcohol issues, employment and training, and the white paper also includes a commitment to recruit 5,000 more officers for the under-staffed prison estate, with 2,400 to be employed in the next two years. There will also be new programmes to match people with job vacancies in the community on their release, as well as dedicated employment advisors in prisons and ‘resettlement passports’ bringing together CVs, ID, bank accounts and community support information in one place to help people ‘start looking for work straight away’.
‘We’re building the prisons to incarcerate dangerous and prolific offenders,’ said deputy prime minister Dominic Raab. ‘We’re deploying the tech to stop the flow of drugs, weapons and phones into prisons. And we’re re-orienting the regime to get offenders off drugs for good, and into work – to cut crime, and keep the pubic safe.’