Prison gets results in drugs crackdown

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A PRISON has slashed the number of inmates using drugs, and thwarted more attempts to pass illegal substances.

The Mount in Bovingdon has been praised for its ‘massive achievement’ in reducing levels of drug dealing and usage.

In a four-month period from November 2010 to February this year 156 prisoners were tested for drugs and just two were positive.

Previously prison bosses could reckon on more than 10 per cent testing positive.

To cut down drug use nets were fitted to fencing to prevent illegal substances being thrown over from the outside.

“That is probably the thing that has had the biggest impact,” said governor Damian Evans.

Visitors are searched when entering the prison and regular searches are carried out on prisoners and their property.

Mr Evans said: “We make sure when we find visitors with drugs on them we involve the police and we work with them to ensure successful prosecution.”

The monitoring board carries out an annual report of the Category C prison, which has 768 inmates.

It raised concerns about prisoners missing hospital appointments due to late arrival.

Mr Evans put this down to a resources issue and said the most urgent appointments are given priority on medical grounds.

In April the prison’s Learning Disability Team won a Nursing Innovations in Criminal Justice Award for its work in setting up systems to identify and support prisoners with learning disability.

“Generally it was a very encouraging report,” said Mr Evans. “My staff have done a cracking job over the past year in difficult economic circumstances.”