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Prisons: Drugs

Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 1 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how Mr Ellis Sherwood was able to obtain heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine whilst in prison. [HL76]

Possession and use of drugs within prison is not permitted. Mr Sherwood was released from prison in 1999 and specific information as to whether, and if so how, he was able to obtain access to drugs while in custody is not available.

Prisons deploy a comprehensive range of security measures to reduce drug supply—including use of search dogs, close working with local police and use of mandatory drug testing.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the prison population are serving sentences for drug offences. [HL102]

The following table gives the numbers of prisoners held in all prison establishments in England and Wales as at the end of June 2009 to show those being detained for drugs offences as a percentage of all offences.


Immediate custodial sentence

All prisoners

All offences




Drug offences




% Drug




This information is available at the following website, which contains monthly briefings by the Ministry of Justice at

For information on the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Prison Service can be contacted.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.