Portland jail 'drugs influx after adult inmates arrived'

  • 24 September 2013
  • From the section Dorset

A prison in Dorset has put in measures to deal with an "influx of drugs" since the introduction of adult inmates.

Portland, previously a young offenders' institution (YOI), now houses 50% of adults out of a population of 530.

The prison had no "drugs problem of any significance" until adult inmates arrived earlier this year, a prison monitors report stated.

A Prison Service spokesman said new security measures were now in place but did not go into detail.

'Bullying and pressure'

Monitors from Portland Prison's Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said the increase in drugs had also led to a rise in "substance trading, debt, bullying and pressure on susceptible prisoners".

This made the prison "significantly more challenging to run safely".

IMB chairman Buffy Sacher, said the situation had worsened since the release of its annual report in August, because of staff cuts and holiday.

However, a Prison Service spokesman said measures were now in place to "deal with concerns about the availability of drugs".

He highlighted the section in the IMB report which "rightly praised staff for their work during a period of change as Portland has taken on adult prisoners for the first time".

"Staff continue to work hard to provide a safe and secure environment," he said.

IMBs are made up of volunteers who visit prisons to monitor standards of care and decency, reporting their findings to the Secretary of State.

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