Cannabis levels at Highpoint Prison treble in a year

Cannabis at a Suffolk prison has tripled and foreign inmates are being held after their sentences have been served, a report has found.

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said the amount of cannabis resin found at Highpoint Prison rose from 197.1g in 2010 to 627.2g the following year.

Some inmates were kept for several months after their sentence as they waited for a decision on deportation.

The Ministry of Justice said it would respond to the report "in due course".

'On a plane'

Susan Feary, vice chairman of the volunteer-run IMB, said the issue with foreign prisoners, which had been raised in previous years, was often not the prison's fault.

"It's usually the UK Border Agency and the country they're being deported to, who have to work together to get the prisoners removed on a plane and taken back to their own country," she said.

"The prison service want to move these people on but there's not an awful lot they can do apart from put pressure on the agencies that have to do the work to get them moved."

The report also said the amount of so-called hooch alcohol found at Highpoint, which is near Haverhill, had doubled from 90 litres to 211.5 litres.

Ms Feary said: "Hooch is a problem in all prisons.

"Prisoners will find ways of making their own alcohol - prison staff are very good at finding it and bringing the prisoners to book."

Waiting lists

The amount of heroin found at the prison had gone down - from 19.4g to 7.3g.

The report raised concerns about the prisoners' welfare.

Ms Feary said waiting lists to see dentists were "extremely long" and people with emergency problems were sometimes not seen "for a week or a month".

"The government is asking all establishments to cut their budgets and we do have some concerns that this may impact detrimentally on the prisoners and the regime," said Ms Feary.

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