LIFE INSIDE OUR OUT OF CONTROL JAILS Spice dealers INSIDE prison target lags’ families on the OUTSIDE
Ex-prisoner lifts lid on drug epidemic
INMATES who get hooked on zombie drug Spice behind bars are exposing their families at home to gangs of debt enforcers on the outside.
The dealers have contacts who monitor bank accounts which relatives are ordered to pay the money into.
And if the debt is not paid their relative in jail receives a punishment beating – which has left some needing emergency hospital treatment.
The vicious cycle of addiction and assaults was revealed to the Sunday People by a former inmate who has served in several prisons and who has only recently been given his freedom.
Reformed career criminal Alex Nicholls, 24 – who was in and out of custody from the age of 14 – spoke out after witnessing a wave of violence.
He revealed how the drug is smuggled in sprayed on to pictures drawn by young children for their dads – precious mementoes that are then ripped up and put into roll-ups.
Spice has brought chaos after sweeping through the prison system because it did not show up in searches.
Alex revealed: “People get beaten up all the time for not paying debts.
“I remember one guy – six of them took him into a cell then beat him really badly. I could hear the screams.
“They ring up people’s families and get them to send money by bank transfer. The dealers have phones in their cells to check if it’s been paid.
“Before, you’d pay about £ 10 a gram. In prison you could split that and sell each half for £50. When I was in Peterborough one guy made about £28,000 in four months.”
The synthetic drug – far stronger than the cannabis it was intended to imitate – was legally sold in shops until the law banned it last year.
Alex described the drug as “absolutely disgusting, nasty stuff”. But he added: “People take it because it completely knocks you out. You can’t think about anything.”
In one attack a man on Alex’s wing had his face slashed open with a razor so that his right cheek flapped down. Another time he saw a gang horrendously burn an inmate with so-called “prison napalm” – a mix of boiling water a and sugar. Alex, jailed for crim crimes ranging from car theft to burglary bu and theft from shops, still wears two tags after his release less than a year ago, but is determined to change his ways. He served time in prisons including HMP Peterborough, Chelmsford in Essex and HMP Wayland in Norfolk. Alex has watched as the Spice epidemic left over-stretched staff struggling to stem the flow of drugs into their jails. He claimed: “Prison officers bring it in or it is brought in during visits. “One way is a kid’s picture covered in Spice spray that you tear up.” Alex, from Hertford shire, revealed vulnerable i nmates are given deliberate overdoses as their tormentors watch them suffer.
He said: “I’ve seen dealers make people keel over, they get a buzz out of it. They’re puking, dribbling, throwing their arms about – they get carted off strapped to a chair.”
Jail deaths linked to Spice and other synthetics such as Black Mamba have tripled in recent years – with 58 prisoners dying between 2013 and 2016.
Alex has joined up with ex-offender charity User Voice to turn his life around. The group aims to break down barriers between convicted criminals and society, improving rehabilitation.