New Airport-style Security in Prisons Sees Record Level of Drug Seizures

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New Airport-style Security in Prisons Sees Record Level of Drug Seizures

Over the last two years, over 70 X-ray body scanners have been installed in all closed male prisons, producing high-quality images of concealed contraband so that prison officers can easily find and stop dangerous items from entering jails.

These scanners have prevented over 19000 attempts to smuggle contraband onto prison wings, including one substantial haul of 81 individually wrapped white rocks of crack cocaine.

In the last five months, 42 of the most challenging prisons have been equipped with even more sophisticated equipment. These enhanced measures include new drug-trace machines that detect tiny smears of new psychoactive substances such as ‘spice’ on mail and items of clothing – stopping dangerous drugs from getting onto wings and wreaking havoc.

Gate entry at these prisons has also been enhanced with new metal detection archways and wands, extra drug dogs and biometric identification for the public. As a result, for the first time ever staff can effectively search visitors coming into jails and seize items such as phones and weapons that can fuel further crime and violence behind bars.

Further security proposals published in a government White Paper include:

  • All new build prisons to be equipped with security measures that cut crime as standard, including the latest technological innovations to thwart drugs, phones and weapons; X-ray body scanners and biometric visitor identification
  • New facilities to support those with drug and alcohol issues to turn their backs on debilitating addictions that stand in the way of proper rehabilitation, including abstinence-based therapy
  • A new Prisoner Education Service will help every prisoner leaving custody to gain the basics they need to find work on release
  • Transparent prison performance data and new targets for prison governors, with an emphasis on reducing reoffending, improving safety and security, getting prisoners off drugs and improving basic skills such as numeracy and literacy

Those caught attempting to smuggle drugs and other illicit items into the prison estate face severe penalties. If you require advice about any aspect of the criminal law, or you are facing investigation or prosecution, do not delay in seeking our advice to achieve the best overall outcome.

How can we help?

We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact us on 0208 309 5010 or email

[Image credit: "Into the Prison" by Bill Nicholls is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0]