In­mates given acupunc­ture … to help them sleep bet­ter!

Daily Mail - - News - By Ian Drury Home Affairs Edi­tor

PRIS­ON­ERS are be­ing given acupunc­ture and mind­ful­ness classes to help them get to sleep.

In­mates are us­ing the prac­tices to nod off in their cells – mak­ing them less likely to rely on drugs at night.

Bosses at HMP Dove­g­ate, a Cat­e­gory B jail run by pri­vate firm Serco, turned to al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies af­ter a rise in num­bers of con­victs us­ing the ‘zom­bie drug’ spice.

Watch­dogs praised the ‘ sleep hy­giene’ schemes at the jail near Ut­tox­eter in Stafford­shire for help­ing wean the crim­i­nals off smug­gled nar­cotics.

How­ever, the rev­e­la­tions will raise eye­brows at a time when there are fears that pris­ons are be­com­ing too cushy.

A White­hall source said: ‘ The pub­lic will be con­cerned if they think HMP Dove­g­ate is more like a health re­treat and less like a prison.’

Tory MP Philip Hol­lobone said: ‘ You couldn’t make it up. Pris­ons should be a place of pun­ish­ment and, ul­ti­mately, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. It is not meant to be a re­lax­ing hol­i­day re­treat and spa.’

A re­port by the prison’s in­de­pen­dent mon­i­tor­ing board said acupunc­ture and mind­ful­ness classes, paid in part by the tax­payer, as­sisted in stop­ping in­mates ‘reach­ing for il­licit sub­stances’. De­rived from an­cient Chi­nese medicine, acupunc­ture in­volves fine nee­dles be­ing in­serted at cer­tain sites in the body for ther­a­peu­tic or pre­ven­ta­tive pur­poses. The nee­dles are un­der­stood to stim­u­late sen­sory nerves un­der the skin and in the mus­cles.

This re­sults in the body pro­duc­ing nat­u­ral sub­stances such as pain-re­liev­ing en­dor­phins. The prac­tice is said to help com­bat in­som­nia and ad­dic­tion. An­other ini­tia­tive launched in the prison is the in­tro­duc­tion of so-called ‘sleep hy­giene’ cour­ses, which in­clude tips on how the 1,000-plus male in­mates can get a good night’s rest.

There are also mind­ful­ness classes, which aim to teach in­mates how to med­i­tate. By im­prov­ing their men­tal health, prison chiefs hope the con­victs will avoid re­turn­ing to a life of crime.

The mon­i­tor­ing board’s re­port said: ‘The board wel­comes the will­ing­ness of the in­te­grated sub­stance mis­use team to take ini­tia­tives such as the pro­vi­sion of sleep hy­giene groups to help pris­on­ers avoid reach­ing for il­licit sub­stances when sleep­less.’

It added that the classes were ‘im­por­tant’ be­cause, since a smok­ing ban was in­tro­duced in July, more in­mates had been re­sort­ing to drugs such as spice when they could not fall asleep.

‘Could we or­gan­ise the riot for Tues­day? I’ve got my mind­ful­ness class on the Mon­day’

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