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Andrew Mackay MP suggests that no prisoners should be released early unless they are free from drugs

The Conservative MP for Bracknell made the suggestion during Justice questions yesterday.

Andrew Mackay MP: As one in five men reporting drug use admit that they started taking drugs in prison, we still clearly have a real problem. Would the Secretary of State consider stating that no prisoners should be released early from their sentence unless they are clear of drugs? Would that not be a great incentive?

Jack Straw, Justice Secretary: "Whether that figure is correct or not—self-reporting of levels of drug abuse, particularly by prisoners, tends to be rather imaginative to say the least—there is no doubt that we have a drug problem in prisons, which I do not underestimate. In the past 11 years, we have sought to strengthen the means of enforcement and greatly to improve treatment. I will certainly think about whether the sort of incentive—such as it would be—that the right hon. Gentleman mentions would work. In respect of indeterminate sentence prisoners and others who have to apply for parole, their behaviour in prison, and their readiness to undertake treatment programmes and comply with them, is one consideration in the determination of their release."



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