Drugs 'easily available' to prisoners at HMP Highpoint in Suffolk

A cell at category C prison HMP Highpoint in Suffolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Drugs are "easily available" to inmates at one of the largest category C prisons in England - with a lack of activity inside fuelling demand, inspectors have found.

Prisoners at HMP Highpoint in Suffolk have access to a supply of banned substances and illicit items, and this is linked to violence and bullying in the jail, according to the report.

The site near Haverhill is made up of two separate prisons holding nearly 1,300 men, assessed as posing a high or very high risk of harm to the public.

"With such a large, rural campus covering two prisons, keeping drugs out was challenging and the demand was fuelled by the lack of activity," said Charlie Taylor, HM Inspector of Prisons.

"Inspectors also met a number of men who had been self-isolating for extended periods out of fear for their safety – one of whom had not left his cell in a month."

Nearly 1,300 men are held at HMP Highpoint in Suffolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Category C prisons should help offenders develop skills to find work when they are released.

However, inspectors found that HMP Highpoint was failing to prepare men for their return to the community.

“More than a third of adults released from prison are known to reoffend within a year," said Mr Taylor.

"With rising prison populations, and people serving longer sentences, it is essential that we address this.

"That can only happen if prisons fundamentally refocus to become places of rehabilitation, education and training that equip people to move on from offending and take their place in society.

"There was much to admire about Highpoint, which was safe, well-maintained and had excellent relationships between staff and prisoners.

"But, like too many other prisons, its work on education, training and resettlement wasn’t good enough.”

The inspection also highlighted many of the positive aspects of the prison, saying it was well-led, orderly, and safe.

The report highlighted that the governor had created a positive culture that encouraged good behaviour.

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