A new report has concluded that it was “easy” for inmates at an open prison to smuggle drugs back into the building on their return from day release or work placement. The report on HMP Kirkham was commissioned by the The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB). It also reported a worrying rise in the amount of cocaine use in the Lancashire prison.
A clampdown on drug and mobile phone smuggling was recommended by inspectors Increased searches and mandatory drug testing at the category D gaol had started to happen after the visit took place in 2018.
Cocaine in Prison
The access to smuggled drugs in prison was a huge concern for the monitoring board. Heroin, Cannabis and Cocaine were all found to be available with the prison after they had been brought into the prison by inmates.
Random drug searches were in place at HMP Kirkham but not every prisoner was searched so this made it easy from the narcotics to be smuggled into the gaol.
A dog search team, based on site, was used but the report suggested that they could have been deployed more proactively. Similarly random drug searches were restricted due to the lack of staff and equipment to search each prisoner on their return back to the prison.
Incidents of violence in the jail often resulted from bullying, drugs and debt issues. Bullying to traffic drugs was a factor. In 2018 a report into HMP Peterborough concluded that levels of violence had double in the jail due to the epidemic of drugs in the gaol.
The report recommended that the prison service could do more to challenge the “culture of drugs” within the establishment. More detection of drugs was seen as needed as well as systems to disable mobile phones so that they could not be used with the prison.
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