Overview of the Bill
1. The purpose of the Bill is to improve the capability of prisons in England and Wales to test for the use of illicit substances by prisoners. This will help staff in Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and other agencies to understand the full extent and nature of substance misuse in prisons, and to take appropriate action to prevent it.
2. The Bill simplifies the current process for adding newly identified psychoactive substances to existing prison officer powers to carry out mandatory tests on prisoners for drugs. It also creates powers for prison officers to carry out mandatory tests on prisoners for prescription only and pharmacy medicines, in response to growing evidence of these substances being misused in prisons. Finally, the Bill also sets out a clear statutory framework for the established practice of prevalence testing.