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Chelmsford Prison: Drugs

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 20 May 2008, Official Report, column 269, on Chelmsford prison: drugs, what the reasons are for the reduction in the rate of those tested positive for drugs in Chelmsford prison between 2003-04 and 2007-08. (207707)

Prisons have in place a comprehensive drug strategy:

reducing supply, through security measures and drug testing programmes;

reducing demand, through targeted treatment interventions for low, moderate and severe drug-misusers; and

establishing effective through-care links to ensure continuity of treatment post-release in order to safeguard the gains made in custody.

The close integration of measures makes it difficult to identify specific elements that lead to a reduction in drug misuse.

Chelmsford prison has over the past five years achieved a commendable reduction in the level of drug misuse as measured by random mandatory drug testing—down 73 per cent. Chelmsford prison runs a dedicated search team which utilises hand held body scanners plus other searching aids, including a trained and licensed mobile telephone detection dog, which have proved effective detecting drugs and mobile phones. It has received an award from Essex Drug and Alcohol Action Team in 2005-6 for its outstanding work with drug treatment.