Drug bag ban at jail

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by ED GLEAVE ■ by ANDY GARD­NER

ONE of Bri­tain’s most no­to­ri­ous jails has been branded “un­fit”.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion has shown Worm­wood Scrubs prison in west Lon­don is in melt­down.

Prisoner Khader Saleh was stabbed to death on a wing at the jail in Jan­uary.

Deb­o­rah Coles, inset be­low, who works to pre­vent state-re­lated deaths as di­rec­tor of the char­ity In­quest, has warned the is­sue is now at cri­sis point.

She said: “We are re­ally in a sit­u­a­tion where deaths have be­come an en­demic fea­ture of the prison. You’re talk­ing about very vul­ner­a­ble pris­on­ers held in aw­ful con­di­tions.

“And for many of them self-harm and sui­cide is the re­al­ity of their ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The con­di­tions at Worm­wood Scrubs have been ex­posed by an in­ves­ti­ga­tion for Chan­nel 5.

It found it was “not fit to serve as a mod­ern prison”.

MP Andy Slaugh­ter, who serves its con­stituency of Ham­mer­smith, west Lon­don, said: “I am par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about the over­all con­di­tions there – infestations, bro­ken windows, toi­lets that don’t work…con­di­tions that are ap­palling for any­body to live in.”

He added: “I don’t think any­body would be happy with what you see in Worm­wood Scrubs.”

Vi­o­lence in pris­ons in Eng­land and Wales has hit record lev­els. Prisoner-on-prisoner as­saults have spiked by 11% in a year while as­saults on staff are up 23%.

Cat­e­gory B Worm­wood Scrubs has housed crim­i­nals in­clud­ing Charles Bron­son and Ian Brady.

Phil Tay­lor worked as Gov­er­nor there be­tween 2009 and 2013 and lived in fear of at­tack.

He said: “There are not many or­gan­i­sa­tions where you go to work ev­ery day and you may be con­fronting some­body who’s at­tempt­ing to kill them­selves.

“You may be con­fronting some­body who’s armed and wants to harm you, or you may be con­fronting some­body who’s armed and wants to harm some­body else – and you have to get your­self in be­tween them. It’s a day when you could in­flu­ence peo­ple in terms of life and death.”

Phil also saw up close how vul­ner­a­ble pris­on­ers are at the jail.

He added: “When some­body takes their life in your care you feel as if you’re per­son­ally re­spon­si­ble. “It’s not some­thing you ever get used to. It’s not some­thing you ever take lightly.” Lord Rams­botham, Chief In­spec­tor of Pris­ons for six years, was con­vinced vi­o­lence was a ma­jor is­sue at the jail.

He said of his time in charge: “We were very dis­turbed be­cause there were lots of re­ports of bul­ly­ing in the seg­re­ga­tion unit. But we couldn’t get to the bot­tom of it. Ev­ery­one was cov­er­ing it up. There was clearly a cli­mate of fear.” A PRISON has banned Pri­mark pa­per car­rier bags be­cause they were be­ing sprayed with the “zom­bie” drug Spice.

A tip-off from a con led to the crack­down on the elab­o­rate smug­gling method at Ris­ley jail in War­ring­ton, Cheshire.

A source said: “Pri­mark bags are used to pack­age socks and un­der­wear for in­mates.

“They are brought in by vis­i­tors and handed to pris­on­ers with­out rais­ing any se­cu­rity con­cerns.

“It ap­pears many were sprayed with Spice and were be­ing cut up and put in­side cig­a­rettes.

“The prob­lems with Spice in the jail reached epi­demic pro­por­tions.”

Of­fi­cers at the Cat­e­gory C jail, which can hold up to 1,095 in­mates, seized a num­ber of Pri­mark car­ri­ers which tested pos­i­tive for Spice.

Our source added: “It takes a thumb­nail-sized piece to make a Spice cig­a­rette.

“One car­rier bag can pro­vide hun­dreds of hits and the jail was awash with the drug.”

At Ris­ley, an A4 size piece of Spice soaked pa­per is worth £500. It is es­ti­mated a soaked Pri­mark car­rier was worth at least £2,000.

■ PRES­SURE: The prison in Lon­don and, right, vic­tim Khader Saleh

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