A Nottinghamshire prison reported new high levels violence due to new psychoactive substances.
The HM Inspectorate of Prisons report said the availability of “legal highs” could also overwhelm health services at HMP Ranby,
The NPS (National Offender Management Service) said it was working with police to disrupt the supply chain of NPS.
NPS is the collective name for the new drugs designed to mimic the effect of illegal drugs. NPS are structurally different enough to avoid being classified as illegal substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The report highlighted six suicides in the space of 17 months.
Martin Lomas, deputy chief inspector of prisons, said the jail, which holds 1,000 men, faces the challenge of “destabilising the supply of NPS which threatens to overwhelm it”.
Prisons Inspectors were concerned that:
- Too many prisoners were held in the large house blocks with staff working there saying they felt unsafe
- The number of violent incidents was higher than in similar establishments
- Assaults on staff had increased significantly and a number of “very serious incidents” had occurred
- In the space of 17 months between inspections there had been six suicides
Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said since the inspection in September the number of inmates had been reduced by 120 and the number of staff had increased.
However, he said: “NPS remains a real concern in prisons and we are introducing a new testing regime which will be rolled out across the country from April.
“Legislation is in place to ban so-called ‘legal highs’ and we will continue to work with police to disrupt supply chains and take robust action against anyone found supplying or using NPS in prisons.”
Inspectors said there were signs of improvement in some areas and were pleased to find fewer prisoners had said they felt unsafe or victimised.
HM Prison Ranby is a Category C men’s prison, located in the village of Ranby in Nottinghamshire, England. The prison is operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service. It holds about 1000 male prisoners.
The facts about NPS:
- Rapidly developing and expanding market
- Marketed in a manner which enables them to bypass legislation
- They have misleading descriptions including, plant food, bath salts, research chemicals, bath bombs, etc
- Very cheap to purchase and widely available via the internet
- No disclaimer or product warnings given to consumers
- General misconception within the public that these are a safe alternative to other illegal substances
- Many can cause significant health risks especially when mixed with other drugs or alcohol
- There is no control over the content of the drug
- Approximately a fifth contain illegal substances and therefore could result with criminal proceedings
- The marketing of the substances is targeted towards young people
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