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Prisons: Drugs

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost to his Department was of (a) all mandatory drug testing in prisons in England and Wales in 2008-09 and (b) one mandatory drug test of an individual prisoner on the latest date for which figures are available. (290290)

Many staff responsible for the mandatory drug testing (MDT) process do not work exclusively on the testing of prisoners. The cost of MDT staff resources cannot be disaggregated from the overall prison running costs.

The cost to the National Offender Management Service of MDT analytical services is classified as commercial in confidence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the street value of all drugs used illegally in each (a) adult prison and (b) young offender institution in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. (292394)

Information on the street value of drugs used illegally in prisons is not routinely available. Covert activity such as drug taking, by its nature, is very difficult to quantify. A report published in 2001 by the Home Office titled ‘Sizing the UK market for illicit drugs’ focused on a few specific drugs and estimated the value of the drugs trade in prisons as worth up to £24 million. Since that report, the level of drug misuse evidenced by the random drug testing positive rate has fallen by 36 per cent.