One In Six Inmates 'Become Drug Addicts' In Jail

One in six inmates are becoming addicted to drugs in prison, according to a new report published.

Inspectors said heroin and other drugs were "easy to obtain" at Wellingborough prison in Northamptonshire. Drugs were thrown over walls or handed by visitors to the prison, the National Offender Management Service added.

Meanwhile drug-related violence flared as inmates incurred large debts.

Wellingborough prison was recorded as "one of the weakest" visited by inspectors.

They also found some men spending up to 20 hours in their cells every day, and prison staff struggling to clamp down on banned mobile phone use.

An infestation of rats was also recorded in the report.

Chief Inspector of Prisons, Dame Anne Owers criticised the "lack of direction" in the management of the prison, whose Governor is Peter Siddons.

She said: "There was little evidence, during this inspection, that Wellingborough was part of a prison service committed to managing and rehabilitating offenders."

"No prisons are easy to run at present, and Wellingborough suffered from a combination of poor design, too few activity spaces, difficulties in moving prisoners on, the availability of drugs, and a younger, more volatile population.

"But it also suffered from a lack of direction and management that had allowed key areas of work to drift. There were good initiatives, but they were happening in isolation."

Phil Wheatley, director-general of the National Offender Management Service, said: "While I recognise the concerns raised by the chief inspector, I am confident that since the inspection significant improvements have been seen in many areas of the establishment, making Wellingborough a safer and more productive place to hold offenders."

He also added the number of accredited courses and activity places increased, and this year the prison will "meet the levels of purposeful activity that we expect".


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