PRISONERS are able to order drugs like a “Deliveroo-style” takeaway the Justice Secretary said yesterday in a damning verdict on the state of UK jails.
David Gauke said the crisis was so bad that lags can buy drugs over illegal phones and have them dropped by drones direct to cell windows.
He added that convicts were also getting their fix from kids paintings laced with psychoactive substances by pals on the outside.
And others were sending in fake legal letters soaked in drugs.
The Tory big hitter – in his first speech in the role – said the spiralling use of drugs like “Spice” was directly responsible for the escalation in terrifying levels of violence. And he admitted: “It is clear that some of our prisons have, frankly, fallen below the standards that we expect.”
He vowed to move kingpins running gangs from a phone in their cell to top security jails in a bid to smash the crime cycle.
And he will spend £14 million setting up a new intelligence network.
The Ministry of Justice is also introducing new technology that will enable governors to access data from seized mobile phones hours after they are confiscated –rather than waiting months.
But there was no target for when levels of violence may come down.
And Mr Gauke refused to be drawn when prison chiefs would start blocking mobile phone signals in a bid to cut off prisoners from criminals in the outside world.
Within hours yesterday, furious prison union officials threatened to spark a series of wildcat strikes over the levels of spiralling violence.
The Prison Officers Association demanded all the Ministry of Justice arm all guards with PAVA spray – a type of pepper spray – given the shocking attacks on their members. A prison officer at HMP Bedford had emergency surgery after an inmate punched him and stamped on his head on Saturday.
The POA said: “The time for excuses has now passed.”
There were more than 28,000 assaults by lags last year with 7,828 on guards.
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Mr Gauke said he had been “shocked” by videos taken by lags of others riddled with Spice. Speaking in London this morning he said: “one of these videos shows inmates laughing and joking as the Spice takes over the mind and body of a fellow prisoner.
“The effect is immediate and shocking.
“Within seconds they are fitting on the floor.
“Another video shows two naked prisoners believing they are dogs, with makeshift muzzles and leads around their neck, barking at and fighting each other, goaded on by other prisoners.”
He added: “Another shows a prisoner climbing into a tumble dryer in the prison laundry room. Other prisoners then turn the machine on and he is spun around inside – a dangerous act of humiliation to ‘earn’ himself some more Spice.”
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