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Durham Prison is ‘Too lax on drugs’ say Chief Inspector of Prisons

A survey carried out at Durham Prison has revealed that inmates failed random drug tests; 1 in 8 said they developed a drug problem after being sent to prison; a third admitted it was easy to get hold of drugs; and 1 in 5 thought that their drug problem would still exist after release.

This is all damning findings, and today on Radio 4, Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, claimed Durham had a too lax attitude towards drugs. He went on to say that they were addressing the issues of supply, having no sensible strategy, and staff just got used to it.

Greg Carroll, a former prison addict, said that drug culture was dependent on the prison you were in and the regime they had in place. He also claimed that in some prisons the culture was ok with cannabis as they thought it kept the prisoners quiet.

Mr Hardwick responded, saying that it is a myth that drugs are allowed into prisons because it calms everyone down, drugs lead to tension and violence in prisons.

Mr Hardwick also went on to criticise the drug treatment programme as being poorly staffed and lacking in leadership.

Links have been established between the poor treatment of prisoners and self-harm, with more than 250 incidents reported in nine months leading up to the inspection in October last year.

There are some good points; the report is not all bad. Durham has made progress with things such as resettlement and purposeful activity, but the report highlights that this Victorian Prison is cracking under the demand of being oversubscribed.

Swain & Co. are not surprised that this report has highlighted the difference between prisons across the country as we work closely with prisoners from many different prisons, knowing first-hand the variations between them.  Drugs are a serious problem in prisons, and prisoners need to receive help to come off drugs and stay off them when they are released, not develop a problem whilst incarcerated and continue the habits on release. This puts the public in danger and the prisoner at a high risk of reoffending.

Our specialist Prison Law team work with prisoners on multiple issues such as adjudications, parole, recalls, appeals, re-categorisation, judicial review and so much more. We are experts in Prison Law and Prisoners Rights.  If you have a loved one or friend in prison who could benefit from expert representation, please call Swain & Co. now:-


Tel: 0208 692 9100  Freephone: 0800 021 3272


Tel: 0151 255 2286     Freephone: 0808 168 0550


Tel: 02392 483322  Freephone: 0800 0351 999


Tel: 02380 631111     Freephone: 0800 056 6880



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