Swastika graffiti found in ‘drug-ridden’ Dorset prison

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Sep 20, 2017
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A “ready availability of drugs” triggered high levels of debt and violence at Portland Prison, a report has found


Bullying, drug use and violence are rife at a prison in Dorset where most inmates fear for their safety, an inspector’s report has found.

Access to illegal drugs was so easy at Portland Prison that a fifth of the 500 inmates claimed to have developed an addiction while serving their sentences.

The HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that a “ready availability of drugs” had triggered high levels of debt, bullying and violence.

Inspectors were told that, after the imposition of a smoking ban in February, which has been widely ignored, the synthetic drug “spice” had become cheaper than tobacco within the prison.

The use of force by staff at Portland, a category C facility built in 1848, was found to be higher than at comparable prisons. Baton use had increased to “very high levels” and body-worn cameras were not routinely used, nor was footage reviewed.

Prisoners were found to have been locked in the cells for longer than was recommended for a category C prison, with more than 30 per cent confined during the working day, and many cells were classed as being in poor condition.

The health centre waiting area, which had a swastika clearly visible under recently applied paint, “was the worst such waiting area inspectors had seen in a category C prison”.

Michael Spurr, the chief executive of HM Prison and Probation Service, said that the report had found “much positive work being done by staff at Portland, but this is undermined by the decline in safety”.

He added: “With a new governor in place, the prison is already working to combat levels of violence and has reviewed its violence reduction policy as well as putting in place a new strategy to tackle the behavioural issues created by the use of psychoactive substances.”

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