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Prisons: Illegal Commodities

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

19. To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to reduce the supply of illegal drugs and mobile telephones in prisons. (202063)

21. To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to tackle the availability of illegal drugs in prisons. (202065)

Prisons deploy a comprehensive framework of drug supply reduction measures and have achieved considerable success. Drug use as measured by random mandatory drug tests has dropped by 64 per cent. since 1996-97.

On 11 March 2008 I announced that David Blakey, former inspector of constabulary, has been commissioned to conduct a review of the effectiveness of the measures to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs into prisons. His report will also look into mobile phone use in prisons and their interrelation with drug supply.

The Prison Service is developing an action plan to tackle the problem of mobile phones in prisons. We are working closely with partner agencies to develop and trial new technologies and procedures.