Prisons (Substance Testing) Bill

Explanatory Notes

Legal background

12. Section 16A of the Prison Act 1952 ("the 1952 Act") sets out the existing power which allows a prison officer to require a prisoner to provide a urine sample to ascertain whether he or she has any "drug" in his or her body. This is the statutory basis for MDT testing.

13. Under this existing legislation, "drug" is defined to include any controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 ("MDA 1971"), or any "specified drug," meaning any substance or product specified in the Prison Rules 1999. In relation to the Prison Rules 1999, Rule 2 sets out the definition of "specified drug" which includes several listed chemical compounds. Rule 50 sets out the arrangements that apply to compulsory drug testing, including the information that prison officers are obliged to provide to prisoners and the arrangements to prevent the adulteration or falsification of samples.

14. Rule 51(9) sets out that it is a disciplinary offence for a prisoner to be found with a substance in his or her urine which demonstrates that a controlled drug or a specified drug has been administered.


Prepared 28th June 2018