§ Miss Widdecombe
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from A. J. Pearson to Mr. Torn Cox, dated 7 May 1996:
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about prisons in England and Wales that have been rendered free of illegal drugs following the implementation of Government policy.
Mandatory drug testing has been implemented in all prisons, on schedule, by 31 March. The data it will yield will provide, over time, a good indicator of the level and patterns of drug misuse in prisons. But, because the random testing programme involves the testing of only 10 per cent. of a prison's population each month, even when all these tests prove negative it will not be safe to claim that a prison is free of drug misuse.