New wing opens at Wayland prison to help prevent supply of drugs

Dead pigeons, tennis balls and socks wrapped in plastic – these are just some of the items stuffed with drugs and thrown over the Wayland prison fences.

A new drug-free wing has been opened at the category C training prison near Watton to combat illegal substances on the site, which currently holds just over 1,000 men.

Speaking about the supply of drugs to the prison, Matt Spooner, security and intelligence manager at Wayland, said: 'It is a constant battle to find out what the new methods are.'

As well as so-called 'fence throws', drugs are brought on to the site by visitors, through mail and when prisoners come into contact with others at court.

These methods are combated by using sniffer dogs, acting on intelligence from prison officers, only allowing certain inmates to speak with visitors through glass and banning certain people from entering the site.

Mr Spooner said: 'We have got a reputation for having a low supply of drugs at Wayland prison.

'Prisoners will try to get transferred here for drugs and if they are carrying them there will be a high demand.'

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The prison's new drug-free wing has been developed from a Ministry of Justice report, published last December, after a successful pilot of similar wings run in five prisons across the country earlier in the year. Up to 60 selected prisoners who have gone through drug-related programmes that use either counselling, therapeutic or clinical methods will be put on the drug-free block, which is wing N.

That particular wing changed its function on January 16 and before that it was used as a regular wing for prisoners.

Wayland prison governor Kevin Reilly said support would be provided by trained officers and workers from the prison's Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare Scheme.

He added: 'The key thing is having the right prisoners who want to be on there.

'There will be a community based approach to keep them away from drugs with extra security measures to make sure they don't break the rules.'

Last November two men were successfully prosecuted for supplying drugs to Wayland prison – the official charge was conveying an article to a prisoner.

Oliver Jones, who was a serving prisoner, was in contact with a former Wayland inmate, Zak Marsden, through telephone conversations.

Marsden was throwing drugs over the fence to Jones – an operation that was discovered through surveillance and forensic investigations.

Both men admitted the charge and were prosecuted at Norwich Crown Court on November 23. Marsden was jailed for 20 months and Jones for two years.

Mr Reilly said it was quite rare for a serving prisoner to be charged for that kind of offence and it sent out a message to people inside and outside of prisons.

'It is a recognition that the CPS realises the impact of drugs in prisons,' he added.

Mr Spooner, who has worked at Wayland prison for 14 years, added that the main issue was reducing the demand of drugs which would reduce the supply.

He said some of the impacts of drugs in prisons included bullying, prisoners getting into debt and violence between convicted criminals. Families were also affected by these problems.

sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

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