Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New report calls for drug-free prisons

A new report released by the Centre of Policy Studies yesterday has strongly criticised the government's approach to drugs in prisons.

The report 'Inside Out: How to get drugs out of prisons' was written by Huseyin Djemil, former Drug Strategy Co-ordinator for seven London Prisons and previously a heroin and crack cocaine addict.

The report's main thrust is that government policy on drugs in prisons is wrong to focus on 'managing the problem [rather] than in eradicating it.'

Whilst some of Djemil's comments are valid, such as his critique of mandatory drugs testing (MDT) orders. He describes them as 'unrealiable and potentially dangerous'. However, his call for prisons to be 'drug-free zones' and that any approach should 'start from the premise that all illicit drugs should be eliminated from prisons' is just not realistic.

Djemil himself argues that, 'The demand for drugs is so great and the system so porous that this [mandatory drug testing, CCTV etc] will only cause minor disruption. Drug dealers in contrast are organised, highly motivated, clearly focused. They build effective alliances for mutual benefit and profit. As their resources grow, so does their buying power – and their capability to corrupt more staff.'

While demand is a factor, the real reason that staff can be corrupted and drug dealers are 'highly motivated' to smuggle drugs into prisons, is that prohibition inflates prices way beyond their true worth.

'Revealed: how drugs trade took hold of British prisons' notes that:

'14 Staff suspended at Pentonville prison in 2006 amid claims of drug and mobile phone smuggling;

68 Staff suspended from the prison service in 2006;

1,000 Prison staff suspected of corruption'

The article also claims that the drugs trade in British prisons is worth an estimated £59 million.


Anonymous said...

It must jarr the authorities that the most controlled environment in society nevertheless cannot control drugs. This demonstrates the futility of prohibition and the harm caused both inside and out. In prisons many switch from benign cannabis to harmful heroin just to try and beat the random tests as cannabis residues stays in the body so much longer.

Jason Vorva said...

I'm sure that drugs get into US prisons the same way. Now we have to have guards watching the guards....greed is a basic human vice and cannot be washed away. i have an instinctual opposition to legalization...but we have to look at how to deal with this. What's going on is not working.

Anonymous said...

In other news:



Anonymous said...

This is a thread about prisons, nothing at all to do with the Somalis and Khat - why bother to post that Duncan?

Anonymous said...

What a strange thing to be criticise me for, Anon. I just thought readers of this blog would be interested in the story.

Anonymous said...

I made the comment because in every drug issue forum the majority of contributors fail to focus on any specific issue and think that anything to do with drugs is pertinent to the issue. It just makes the campaigns becomes a ramble and a laughing stock. Your comment might have suited a more general blog about the regulation of drugs but seriously out of place here, now I'm at it, talking about blogging precision in the wrong place.

Anonymous said...

Duncan/Anon - the khat story has now been blogged. Feel free to comment on it.