Home UK £10m to combat the use of Spice in prisons

£10m to combat the use of Spice in prisons

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A new scheme to target drugs and violence in prison is to be piloted at 10 jails in England.

The main priority will be to stop the smuggling and use of the synthetic cannabis Spice.

£10m is being set aside for the project in 10 'challenge' prisons with high levels of drug use and violence.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: "Drugs is probably the single largest burden on prisons. You can see this in a prison.

"When a prison receives a large load of drugs, sometimes by drones, or dragged over walls, or carried in by people, violence suddenly spikes. These drugs are provoking the most bizarre behaviour."

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Video: Shocking footage shows prisoner on Spice

According to a Safety In Custody report in July, more than 24 Prison Officers are assaulted at work every day with an 11% increase in serious assaults that cause life changing injuries.

:: The Spice of prison life: Being a guard in a drug-fuelled jail

The ten prisons chosen for the investment are: Hull, Humber, Leeds, Lindholme, Moorland, Wealstun, Nottingham, Ranby, Isis and Wormwood Scrubs.

The bulk of the money £6m will be used to increase security including body scanners and drug-detection dogs. £3m will go on improving living conditions in the jails and £1m on training programmes for governors and staff.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) has welcomed the trial but expressed disappointment at the level of investment.

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Glyn Travis, Assistant General Secretary at the POA told Sky News: "It's too little too late, the prison system has been in crisis now for many many years due to austerity cuts and that's what's seen the dramatic rise in violence."

It is hoped that once the effectiveness of the year-long trial is assessed it will be rolled out to other prisons.

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