Prisons in the press – 6 May

Rise in drugs, fires and baked goods… 

... Image: Tony Webster

Freedom Bakery gives promise of new hope to inamtes. Image: Tony Webster

Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.


Hot off the press

Synthetic cannabis is “having a devastating impact in UK prisons” warns the chief inspector of prisons. The Guardian has more.


Revealed this week

  1. HMP Norwich documentary blasted by viewers who think inmates treat it like a ‘holiday camp’. In the latest film from ITV’s prison series, it showed the impact of separating inmates from loved ones. The Mirror has more.
  2. The Mirror goes inside Britain’s most dangerous prison where “criminal rule and sexual savagery is commonplace”. Depleted and exhuasted staff at Northern Ireland’s Maghaberry Prison jail have described it is a powder keg with a fuse that’s burning down fast. The Mirror has the story.
  3. Three Irish prison officers wait on tests after bite attack by “HIV-Positive” rapist. Dangerous sex offender Lovemore Dube bit an officer “through to the bone” and broke another’s fingers during the violent assault at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise. The Belfast Telegraph has more.
  4. Safety fears raised over staff levels at Northumberland prison. A number of workers contacted the Northumberland Gazette to say the morale is low and staffing levels are “down to the bone” following cuts. Read more here.
  5. Prison officer who was stabbed while breaking up a jail fight “recruited another inmate to exact revenge on his attacker”. Calum Kerr, who had worked in the prison service for six years, allegedly sounded out inmate Karlton Cummings, to exact his revenge on fellow prisoner Kernery Grantham. MailOnline has the story.


Prison cell fires

  1. 101 deliberate prison cell fires in a single year. Prison cell fires have doubled in Staffordshire in 12 months and have cost the fire service around £70,000 to deal with in six years. The Express & Star has more.
  2. Rioting inmates set fires in cells at Perth Prison. Emergency services rushed to Perth Prison on Tuesday night after rioting inmates set fire to their cells. The Courier has the story.
  3. Joint investigation into reasons behind Perth Prison riots launched. A Perth Prison insider told The Courier the atmosphere inside the Edinburgh Road jail was “very tense”.


News in context: Synthetic cannabis

Chief inspector of prisons attributes deaths, serious illness and self-harm to cannabis substitutes “spice” and “black mamba”.

Unlike traditional resin and weed, synthetic cannabis is often made in labs and is odourless, making it hard for prison staff to detect.

Some prison officers have even reported falling ill from exposure to the fumes.

The Guardian reports that high demand for the compounds has fuelled more severe problems in the prison system that officers have faced from any other drug.

Chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke said:

“It is having a devastating impact in some of our prisons, more severe than we have seen with other drugs. Their presence in prisons has given rise to debt, bullying and violence.

“They are destabilising some prisons, making it difficult for normal prison life to continue.”

The Guardian has the full story. 


In other news 

Jailbake: Freedom Bakery gives prison inmates hope of a fresh start on the outside. SCOTS enterprise Freedom Bakery is empowering inmates by teaching them how to bake artisan goods – their baking is even used at over 12 eateries across Glasgow. The Daily Record has more.


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