* Assessment for treatment for all who test positive
* Thresholds for illegal possession may be raised
UK: All suspects arrested for drug-related crime - currently 240,000 a year - are to be tested for heroin, cocaine and crack by the police under a scheme starting today and those whose results are positive will be required to undergo a compulsory assessment for treatment.
This expansion in compulsory drug testing comes as ministers are considering specific thresholds for the personal possession of different drugs. Carry more and the police will assume you are a dealer.
Home Office officials said last night that the government was "minded to set" the limits at 4ozs of cannabis resin, half a kilo of cannabis leaf, 10 ecstasy tablets, or 7g of heroin or crack cocaine.
The Home Office estimates that the expansion of the police compulsory testing programme from those who are charged with drug-related crimes to all those arrested for such offences means the numbers tested will rise from 80,000 to more than 240,000 a year. More than 2,200 people entered the drug treatment programme by this route last month.
[Why don't they just admit that the war on drugs is lost? Fuckwits!]
The scheme comes into force today in Manchester, Nottingham and South Yorkshire and will follow in the rest of the country next March. First-time drug using offenders will be tested if they are arrested for "trigger offences" including street robbery, burglary, theft and handling stolen goods.
Those who test positive will be required to attend a drug assessment even if they are not charged. A Home Office spokesman said those who refused to provide a sample or undergo the assessment would face a fine of up to £2,500 or three months in prison. The courts are also able to deny bail to someone who refuses assessment or the follow-up treatment and support.
The expansion of the drug intervention programme was announced yesterday by the home secretary, Charles Clarke, in a speech to the national drugs conference in London. It came as Home Office ministers launched a consultation on whether specific limits should be set for the personal possession of heroin, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, amphetamines and cannabis.
The draft limits are based on an informal agreement between Nottinghamshire police and the Crown Prosecution Service. They are: heroin: 7g or 10 or more "wraps" containing 0.1g. Crack cocaine: 7g or 10 wraps of 0.1g. Cocaine: 7g or 10 wraps of 1g. Ecstasy: 10 tablets. Amphetamines: 14g or 10 wraps of 1g. Cannabis: resin - 4ozs or 10 individual pieces; leaf - 0.5 kilos or more than 20 "2 x 2" bags.
The police have resisted setting a specific threshold for cannabis, arguing that it would only lead to street dealers carrying around smaller amounts than the prescribed limits.
Opposition politicians said that the draft thresholds were so high they would make the fight against illegal drug use even harder. "A lot of dealers are going to be let off the hook," said the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Alistair Carmichael.
It emerged yesterday that Brixton police in south London intend to arrest anyone caught with even a small amount of cannabis from December 12 in a drive to tackle the growing number of drug dealers on Brixton high street.
Brixton was the first London area to pilot the police policy of cautioning but not arresting people possessing small amounts of cannabis.
By Alan Travis posted 4 December 05
People: 'Prisoners' of Drugs'
People who are addicted to heroin usually take the drug because it relieves them of problems such as low self-esteem, distrust and fear of abandonment. They may have poor communication skills & poor relationship skills.
Blunkett's Quest, but is he on drugs?
The legislation is expected to introduce a new definition of "possession" of an illegal drug, making it an offence to have a certain amount in the bloodstream. This is likely to prove controversial - not least because some drugs, such as cannabis, can remain in the bloodstream for weeks.
POSSESSION? OR INVASION?
UK: This absolutely preposterous idea/theory of allowing a person/s to be possibly charged with 'possession', if found to have a drug substance within their bloodstream, just goes to prove such hypocrisies which certain hierarchies feel justifies passing legislation, is another blow for democracy!
Survey shows 11m people have taken drugs
Nearly 4 million people in England and Wales have tried class A drugs - including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms - at least once. The annual British Crime Survey drug findings show that 11 million people, aged between 16 and 59, say they have tried some illegal drug at least once, with 3.5 million saying that they have taken them in the past year.
Prison officers responsible for smuggling into jails
Fresh Home Office research also confirmed the extent of abuse in prisons yesterday, and suggested that prison staff were one route for drugs to get in. The study found that smuggling by uniformed or civilian staff was thought to be "substantially increasing" the availability of heroin and cannabis behind bars.
Prisons: Have a heart at Christmas
As the season of goodwill approaches I'm reminded of how at this time of year one of the main things on the minds of people in prison is food.
Call for reform of prison care for mentally ill
UK: Prisons would be legally obliged to provide specialist treatment and support to mentally ill inmates under Conservative proposals set before MPs.
Teaching role for prison staff urged in report
UK: Prison officers should play a greater role in the education of inmates to prevent reoffending, says an academic report published today. The report marks the first time that uniformed staff, who normally have little involvement in prisoner education, have been consulted at length.
A long stretch
UK: As head of prisons for England and Wales, Martin Narey tried to improve life for people on the inside. One of those inmates was Erwin James, then serving a life sentence. Now, as Narey leaves his job after a career spanning three decades, the two men meet and discuss the many problems still facing Britain's jails.
Plea to release Biggs rejected by ruling-class
UK: Home Secretary Charles Clarke has rejected a plea by Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs to be released from prison on compassionate grounds.
Prisons chief hits at 'gross' overcrowding
Martin Narey, a civil servant who has served every Home Secretary since 1989, highlights statistics showing that thousands of mentally ill inmates and a record number of children now constitute a significant part of the prison population.
Clarke faces a fight over probation overhaul
UK: The home secretary, Charles Clarke, yesterday confirmed his plans to abolish 42 local probation boards and instead create "a vibrant mixed economy" in the management of 200,000 offenders in the community.
The devilish advocate
UK: The devilish advocate John Hirst taught himself law in jail, and has never lost a case against the prison service. Erwin James meets up again with the former 'lifer' who won inmates the right to vote.
Racism still rife in jails, five years after the murder of Zahid Mubarek UK: The prison service will be strongly criticised for continued racial discrimination against ethnic minority inmates by the official report from the Zahid Mubarek inquiry.
UK prisoners should get vote, European court rules
UK: Laws setting out who can and cannot take part in elections are to be rewritten after the European court of human rights today ruled in favour of giving British prisoners the right to vote.
Prison plan 'will cut reoffending'
UK: A network of community prisons to help cut the number of criminals who re-offend has been outlined by Home Secretary Charles Clarke.
Clarke to scrap plan to peg prison numbers
UK: The home secretary, Charles Clarke, has said he is to abandon his predecessor's aspiration of pegging the prison population in England and Wales at 80,000. He will also drop plans to put a legal obligation on the judges' sentencing guidelines council to take the size of the prison population - currently 77,000 and rising - into account when laying down the "going rate" for major crimes.
Crowded jails 'boosting suicides'
UK: The chief inspector of prisons warned that an overcrowding crisis in Britain's jails was leading to an increase in prisoner suicides.
Chief justice calls for new approach to law and order
UK: The retiring [ruling class] lord chief justice, Lord Woolf, made a passionate plea for a new approach to law and order which would see a major shift away from punishment towards the solution of problems which generate crime.
Britain's only prison ship ends up on the beach
UK: The last inmates have departed and a skeleton staff is left guarding Britain's only prison ship - in case anyone is minded to break in rather than out.
Throw away the key
The one profession to get results on recidivism has been sacrificed to Labour's desire to lock up criminals in private prisons.
Judges' misdeeds will remain secret
UK: Judges who are disciplined for bad behaviour will not have the findings against them made public under a complaints regime to be launched next year.
Prisoner total rises 15% in six years
England and Wales are continuing to jail offenders at a higher rate than any other major country in western Europe, it emerged today. New research indicates that the government's use of prison as its main tool of penal policy has increased by 15% since 1999.
CPS drops prosecution over death in custody
UK: The family of Roger Sylvester, who died after being restrained by police officers, yesterday expressed their disappointment at a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute any of the officers involved.
Prisoner's cell death
UK: A prisoner was found hanged in his cell last week, the Home Office said, fuelling criticism over the soaring number of suicides in custody.
Plans for five new 'superprisons'
Recent figures show a total of 75,550 prisoners were held in 139 jails in England and Wales, nudging up the previous record of April 2004 by just six inmates.
Prison has lost its way - report
UK: Bristol prison is suffering wide-ranging problems because of inconsistent management, the Chief Inspector of Prisons has said.
Row over acupuncture for prisoners
UK: The Home Office has responded to criticism over prison inmates who are being offered acupuncture on the NHS in order to relieve stress.
Number of prisoners sent back to jail trebles
UK: The number of prisoners being sent back to jail after release has nearly trebled in the past five years, according to a report published today.
Top judge says crowded prisons cannot break cycle of crime
UK: Reoffending rates after a prison sentence are at an "unacceptably high level" and the failure of the criminal justice system to stop prisoners reoffending should shock the public, England's top judge, [Ruling Class] Lord Woolf, said last week.
All the World's a Prison: History
No doubt many of my readers, even those who are well-educated or widely read, think that the prison -- the place where dark deeds are darkly answered -- is an ancient institution, a barbaric hold-over from barbaric times. In fact, the prison is of relatively recent origin, and this tells us a great deal about the pretentions and realities of modern times, and the wisdom and high degree of development of the ancients.
Decade after inspector left in disgust, report tells of filth
UK: Dirty, mice-infested cells, high levels of self-harm, and widespread bullying over drugs and medications were just some of the damning findings of a report into conditions at Holloway, Britain's largest women's prison.
Most women 'should not be jailed'
Women make up 6% of the prison population in England and Wales. Imprisonment of women should be "virtually abolished", a prison reform group has said.
Youth 'murdered for officers' pleasure'
UK: An Asian teenager was murdered by a white racist after they were placed in the same cell as part of a game to fulfil the "perverted pleasure" of prison officers, a public inquiry heard on Friday.
Deaths in isolation as prison segregation increases
The use of segregation [solitary confinement] of prisoners as punishment has been increasing recently in Australia, the US, and the UK. Segregation can be used for protection or punishment, but in both cases it results in extreme psychological stress. An indication that segregation is being over-used is the appearance of deaths in custody from suicide of those placed in segregation.
Inquest blames jail for overdose death
UK: An inquest jury returned a verdict itemising a catalogue of faults at Styal prison in Cheshire, concluding that the prison's "failure of duty of care" contributed to the death of Sarah Campbell, 18, who took an overdose of tablets on the first day of her three-year sentence.
Put in the way of self-harm in a place intended to protect others
UK: Sarah Campbell, 18, spent the last hours of her life in the segregation unit of Styal prison, Cheshire. "The seg", as those places are referred to, used to be known as "the block", short for punishment block. [ Seg is a bullshit word for Punishment, Solitary Confinement, Torture, Mental Illness, Self-Harm, Human Rights Abuse and that is State Terror.]
Britain 'sliding into police state'
The home secretary, Charles Clarke, is transforming Britain into a police state, one of the country's former leading anti-terrorist police chiefs [false flag police chiefs] said yesterday.
UK solitary confinement
UK: Segregation units are prisons within prisons - the places where the most unchecked brutality is meted out to prisoners. In recent years conditions in high security segregation units have deteriorated, and the use of long-term segregation as a control mechanism has increased.
Inquiry must root out prison racists
UK: It is difficult to imagine a more brutal murder than that of Zahid Mubarek. The 19-year-old was clubbed to death by his cellmate at Feltham Young Offender Institution in the early hours of 21 March 2000. He was due to be released just a few hours later.
Prison suicides soar as jails hire 'babysitters'
UK: Prison officers are being taken off suicide watch and replaced by unqualified 'babysitters' because the system is overwhelmed by an epidemic of self-harm.
Plan to sell off juvenile jails as job lot
UK: The government is to put out to tender all its dedicated juvenile jails that hold children under 18 in a departure in Whitehall's privatisation programme.
Failure to sack 'racist' prison staff condemned
UK: Two prison officers suspended for racism are still on full pay three years after a stash of Nazi memorabilia, neo-fascist literature and Ku Klux Klan-inspired 'nigger-hunting licences' was found in a police raid on their home.
Report slams 'unjust' jailing of women on remand
UK: Six out of 10 women sent to jail while they await trial are acquitted or given a non-custodial sentence, a report published today reveals. Introducing the report, Lady Kennedy QC calls for a complete review of the use of remand and bail for women saying it is "inhumane and unjust".
Concern as UK prison suicides hit record level
UK: More prisoners took their own lives in English jails in August than in any other month since records began, prison reformers said today.
End of years of despair as Holloway closes its doors
But now Holloway prison in north London - where Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in Britain, was hanged in 1955 - has been earmarked for closure, along with several other women's prisons, which have been hit by a spate of suicides.
How detox and self-help brought suicide jail back from the brink
UK: Six suicides in 12 months made Styal jail notorious and the Prisons Ombudsman criticised the prison and its staff for serious failures. But things are changing.
Belmarsh detainees consider suicide, says freed man
UK: The first of the Muslim detainees released from Belmarsh high security prison after being held on suspicion of terrorism has told the Guardian his fellow prisoners are suffering such severe mental problems that they constantly consider suicide.
Suicides and unrest have soared, admits Home Office
UK:The already overcrowded prison population is set to go on rising and will top 80,000 within the next three years, a senior Home Office civil servant warned yesterday.
England tops the EU in imprisonment
England and Wales jail more offenders per capita than any other European, Union country, according to new figures.
Govt, police 'let off the hook' Haneef inquiry
8 years ago