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Inmate says prison is not winning war against drugs.

AN inmate has described the "unwinnable battle" against drugs inside HMP Northumberland as private jails come in for criticism.

The prison workers' union the POA has called for a public inquiry into the state of prisons, slamming what it called "failed privatisation".

At the same time, it was revealed more than 31% of prisoners at privately-run HMP Northumberland test positive for drugs, with new psychoactive drugs such as spice the most common.

Speaking anonymously, one prisoner claims the jail - which is run by facilities management company Sodexo - was beset by problems, largely as a result of the infamous synthetic substance. He said: "This drug puts all other drugs, including heroin, in the shade as far as problems caused are concerned.

"The staff are powerless to stop it and are constantly battling an unwinnable battle.

"Inmates walk around like zombie Thunderbird puppets and often have epileptic-type seizures, vomiting and soiling themselves, but this does not deter them from repeating the process."

He said he was "determined to change his ways" and stay away from drugs, but claims even the drug rehabilitation blocks were awash with substance abuse.

An HMP Northumberland spokesperson said: "Drugs are a challenge across the whole prison estate, not just HMP Northumberland.

"We are proud of our staff at the prison, who do a professional job, work very hard to prevent illicit items getting into HMP Northumberland and work closely with partner agencies to provide access to drug and alcohol recovery support for everyone who needs it."

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 6, 2018
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