THE leader of Britain’s prison officers blamed government cuts yesterday for widespread use of drugs and contraband at a Yorkshire prison.
More than 2.2lbs of drugs previously known as “legal highs” and dozens of mobile phones were seized at HM Prison Lindholme, near Doncaster, in a single month.
The investigation which was carried out by the government’s Inspectorate of Prisons found a kilo of new psychoactive substances (NPS), 67 mobile phones, 145 SIM cards, steroid vials and tablets, and injecting equipment.
Prison Officers’ Association (POA) general secretary Steve Gillan said: “I am glad the Inspectorate has once again raised the dangers of new psychoactive substances which the POA have been raising for several years.
“Prisoners have died as a result of taking these cheap illicit drugs, prison officers have breathed in the fumes and been taken to hospital suffering ill health.”
Inspectors were also told stories concerning the psychological effects of NPS’s including one inmate who blinded himself.
Howard League for Penal Reform director of campaigns Andrew Neilson said: “Another inspection report reveals another fundamentally unsafe prison. Violence has rocketed and men are scared.”
Mr Gillan claimed that prisons were “awash” with these types of drugs because of staff cuts imposed by the Tory government. He added: “Gove has presided over the biggest crisis in the prison service and he appears to be oblivious about it.
“He is more interested in the leadership contest for the Tories than dealing with a prison service in crisis.”