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Prisons: Cannabis

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to ensure the amount of cannabis used in Northern Ireland's prisons is reduced. (248115)

On 21 July 2008 I published a comprehensive report on measures to tackle the flow of drugs into prison establishments.

Since then, significant steps have been taken to ensure that the volume of drugs including cannabis entering prisons is reduced. These include:

Stringent new measures to manage inmates’ personal cash accounts including restrictions on the passing of money into or out of the prison;

Further training and deployment of specialist search staff, including use of specialist staff at visits entrances;

Specialist training for new support grade staff;

Enhanced observation of prisoners visits;

Improved sharing of intelligence and closer co-operation with PSNI in identifying potential traffickers;

Improved arrangements for the arrest and prosecution of individuals suspected or identified smuggling drugs into prisons.