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Extra measures needed to tackle influx of drugs at Suffolk prison

Extra measures are needed to tackle the influx of drugs at a Suffolk prison, a new report has recommended Picture: ARCHANT

Extra measures are needed to tackle the influx of drugs at a Suffolk prison, a new report has recommended Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

A Suffolk prison needs to introduce additional measures to deal with the influx of drugs entering the jail, a new report has recommended.

The HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) action plan for Highpoint prison, in Stradishall, near Haverhill, published in response to an inspection in August, said "access to illicit

drugs remained too high".

More than a third of prisoners said it was easy to get hold of drugs in the jail and 13% said they had acquired a drug habit since arriving at Highpoint, according to the inspectors' report.

In response, the HMPPS report said a revised strategy on drugs at Highpoint was launched in September last year, and the jail will also increase intelligence in relation to drugs and associated violence, including through exit interviews with inmates.

The category C jail, which houses more than 1,200 prisoners, also has too few probation officers to manage high-risk offenders, according to inspectors.

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The report said this meant caseloads were "very high" and officers "lacked support and training".

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In response, the National Probation Service are actively recruiting into vacant prison offender manager posts, the report said, and in the interim, HMP Highpoint have seconded extra officers to mitigate the number of vacant roles.

In the inspection report, Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said some progress had been made around the availability of illicit drugs in the prison, but stressed "there was room for more drug testing to be carried out where use was suspected, better searching of mail and greater use of technology".

Inspectors also found some "basic public protection processes" were weak, with ineffective arrangements for conducting and reviewing telephone monitoring.

Calls were not listened to promptly and those in foreign languages were not translated.

Child contact restrictions were also not consistently enforced, according to inspectors.

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However, Mr Clarke added: "Overall, this was a very encouraging inspection of a prison that has found a way of treating high risk prisoners with respect in decent surroundings.

"There is still work to be done around violence, drugs and resettlement, but with the solid foundations that are in place in terms of the incredibly strong positive ethos that permeates the prison, there is no reason why the necessary improvements cannot be achieved."

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