Illegal substances continue to cause problems at HMP Gartree, IMB reports

As in other prisons, illegal drugs such as Spice get into HMP Gartree and are a major contributory factor in incidences of violence, bullying and debt. It even finds its way into the Segregation Unit where, as elsewhere, regulations limit the extent of body searches for items such as drugs, mobile phones and lighters etc.


IMB Gartree report that there is a worrying increase in the incidence of actual self harm – up by 24% from the previous year and threats to self harm up by 33%.The rise in actual self harm matches almost exactly the rise seen across the national prison estate where the causative factors are considered to be drug – related debt, bullying and violence.


Another issue, which we raised in last year’s report and which has been highlighted previously by HMIP, is that the level of the work available and the frequent lack of material supplies leads to insufficient work for the prisoners to undertake and continues to bedevil the Industries Division. The Board’s visits to the workshops often reveal the workforce to be reading their newspapers, playing cards etc. because there is insufficient material for them to work on. The staff from the Industries Department report frustration in their attempts to get external suppliers and contracts to maintain continuity.


A praiseworthy initiative from the Education Department is that they are striving to offer qualifications which are work-based and can be gained by those in employment – an example is an NVQ in textiles which can be taken by those working in the Textiles workshops.  Similarly qualifications can also be achieved by those working in the Painting and Decorating Workshop.



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