Drugs crackdown pledge at prison

A PRISON governor pledged to crack down on the rising amount of drugs, alcohol and luxury foods being smuggled into his Suffolk jail.Relatives and friends of inmates at Hollesley Bay category D open prison near Woodbridge, are hiding illegal items behind trees and bushes on the public road going through the prison.

A PRISON governor pledged to crack down on the rising amount of drugs, alcohol and luxury foods being smuggled into his Suffolk jail.

Relatives and friends of inmates at Hollesley Bay category D open prison near Woodbridge, are hiding illegal items behind trees and bushes on the public road going through the prison.

They are also dropping off food, including Marks and Spencer picnic hampers, for the prisoners who then hide them from the staff.

But the governor Michael Wood, speaking after the release of a prison watchdog report, warned security measures were about to be tightened to eliminate the "drop offs".

There are closed circuit television cameras filming the area and new cameras will be installed to increase coverage. The jail shares a drug dog with neighbouring Warren Hill prison and Mr Wood is asking for more drug dogs and staff to carry out patrols.

Mr Wood said: ''The majority of drug finds are normally always cannabis, although I am not saying we do not have class A drugs in the prison. We find a lot here including picnic hampers and all sorts of things because we have a lot of good intelligence.

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''We have a programme for substance misuse and if we can reduce the demand then we will reduce the supply. We have positive healthy promotion work going on and we have a substance misuse nurse.''

There is also the CARATS scheme (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice, Throughcare) for the rehabilitation of drug users.

About 200 inmates out of the 300-strong population are on a voluntary drug testing scheme. Every month 10% of the prisoners have a mandatory drug test and for the year ending on December 31 there were 310 random tests of which 15% were positive, mainly for cannabis.

Mr Wood was commenting after the prison's Independent Monitoring Board published its annual report which highlighted a great deal of positive action being taken at the prison.

Board chairman Avery Fraser said: ''The year in retrospect was one of much change, some intangible, showing a transformation of a most positive kind with a staff who show respect, and a leader with incredible energy and enthusiasm to drive Hollesley Bay, in all its diversity, to a cohesive and constructive future."

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