June 1, 2010

Coming Clean: Combating drug misuse in prisons

It is an open secret that our prisons, traditionally thought of as secure institutions, are awash with drugs. The easy availability of drugs in prisons undermines treatment programmes, allows prisoners to maintain anti-social habits during their sentence, and leaves them unprepared for release and primed to reoffend. What is less widely known is how drugs worth an estimated £100 million really get in to prisons, and what really goes on inside prisons in an effort to get inmates off drugs and prepared for release.

There is no doubt that significant additional funding was provided during recent years by the previous government, attempting to both reduce the supply of drugs and to reduce demand for them through engaging prisoners in treatment programmes. However, this report contends that there are a series of fundamental problems with the way these issues are approached – and that despite repeated warning signs, the Prison Service appears destined to continue down the same failed path.


Max Chambers

Head of Crime & Justice, 2012-14

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