06:52, July 09 252 0 theguardian.com

2019-07-09 06:52:04
Jails too slow to react to 'deluge of drugs', says HM chief inspector

Prison service officials have been slow to respond to the “deluge of drugs” flowing into jails while suicides have shot up by 15% in a year, the chief inspector of prisons has said.

In his 2018-19 annual report, Peter Clarke said drugs were generating debt, bullying and violence, and the Prison Service had not been robust or sophisticated enough in its response to the threat, adding that the introduction of new technologies had been “patchy”.

Clarke said levels of self-harm were “disturbingly high” and self-inflicted deaths had increased to 83 from 72 in the previous year.

“The appalling impact of illicit drugs, particularly new psychoactive substances, had been underestimated and as a result many prisons were still suffering from the debt, bullying and violence they generated,” Clarke said.

“The response to the deluge of drugs flows into many prisons in recent years has too often been slow and neither robust nor sophisticated.”

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), which covers England and Wales and is led by Clarke, published 78 inspection and thematic reports.

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